Roaring Fork boys open at Eaton; Basalt faces No. 1-ranked Lions |

Roaring Fork boys open at Eaton; Basalt faces No. 1-ranked Lions

G. Sean Kelly

The Roaring Fork boys basketball team has one less victory than Eaton, but the higher seed headed into the first round of the Class 3A State Playoffs tonight.

Not that it matters, since the game is at D’Evelyn.

No. 12 Roaring Fork (14-8) takes on No. 21 Eaton (15-8) tonight at 5 p.m. The winner faces the survivor of the game between host D’Evelyn and La Junta on Saturday.

Forward Dan Markoya leads the Rams with 15.7 points per game and center Nic Lough has had an exceptional sophomore season with a 12.6-point average through the season.

Another sophomore has come on lately as well and may be the key player when facing the state-level competition. Aaron Markham has grown into the starting point guard position and averaged 11 points, while doing a good job of spreading the ball around.

Eaton, out of the Patriot League, is coming off back-to-back victories and has two players who average double digits.

Tough road for Longhorns

Every state tournament game is difficult, but going up against the undefeated, No. 1-ranked team in the state is exceptionally so.

The Basalt Longhorns, who received the 32nd and final seed, face top-seed Colorado Springs Christian on the Lions’ home court today at 7 p.m. The winner plays Saturday at 1 p.m. against the winner of the Estes Park-Centauri contest.

“We’re approaching it like we don’t have anything to lose,” Basalt coach Michael Green said. “We can’t hurt ourselves by going and playing hard. They have to worry about us if we stay around.”

Basalt doesn’t have experience to fall back on since this is the first trip for any of the players to the state tourney, but the ‘Horns have had solid seasons out of Kyle Kappeli and Ryan Thompson. Both players average around 12 points per outing.

Green hopes patience on the offense will keep the game within reach, but it will be tough to hold down a team with five players who average over 10 points a game.

“They’ve got six kids who all shoot the three extremely well,” Green said. “We’re going to try to be very patient and work the ball and get the best shot we can.”

Alec Shepherd leads the Lions with 15 points per game.

“I just hope the kids come out and play aggressively and give themselves the opportunity to have success,” Green said. “They are rated No. 1 in the state for a reason, but you see it all the time in sports – the big upset.”

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