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Roaring Fork gets back its homecourt swagger

G. Sean KellyGSPI Sports Editor

CARBONDALE – Last season the Roaring Fork boys basketball team didn’t drop a game at home. This season, the Rams lost their first two home games, but, judging by their performance this weekend, don’t expect too many more home losses.Roaring Fork won its first two league games of the season with a 68-46 victory over rival Basalt on Friday and a 62-29 victory over league foe Gunnison on Saturday.”We were hungry for the win. We came out at home last time and kind of got embarrassed,” said Rams junior Christian Tena, referring to losses to Steamboat Springs and D’Evelyn at the Brenda Patch Tournament. “We knew we had to come out and prove this is the same team as last year.”The Rams (2-0 Western Slope League, 5-3 overall) certainly showed flashes of the team that advanced to the semifinals of the state tournament last season against Basalt (0-1, 2-5).Tena scored the Rams’ first six points of the game for a 6-1 advantage, and Roaring Fork never trailed thereafter.”With Basalt we knew we had a target (on us),” Tena said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy if we didn’t execute.”And the Rams did execute.Roaring Fork set the tone early with Tena and Nic Lough forcing the issue in the paint, and point guard Aaron Markham distributing the ball all over the court.”I thought we shared the ball really well,” Roaring Fork coach Roger Walters said. Basalt tied the score at 10-all midway through the first quarter, but a 6-2 run by Roaring Fork to close the frame essentially sealed the game. The Rams’ uptempo offense and relentless defense took over, and the Longhorns never got closer than four points the remainder of the game.Still, Tena knows there’s still work to be done. “We’re not where we’re supposed to be,” he said. “We’re a young team and still learning. Our bench is young, they’ve got talent, but they’re young.”Tena led all scorers with 17 points, while Lough chipped in 15. Markham and Parker Nieslanik also hit double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.Jesse Regan and Cody Burkholder paced the Longhorns with 14 and 12 points, respectively.Against Gunnison, Markham tallied his first triple-double of the season with 19 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in another dominating defensive showing from the Rams.Along with Markham, Adam Joiner hit double figures with 18 points, including three three-pointers, and Nic Lough tallied 16. “It was really balanced this whole weekend and again we shared the ball well. Aaron just gets everybody involved,” Walters said.


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