Roaring Fork gets its ‘second chance’ |

Roaring Fork gets its ‘second chance’

FORT COLLINS – The Roaring Fork boys basketball team has just been handed a second chance.After falling in the Class 3A state championship in 2005, the Rams will now play in the title game again this year after beating Pagosa Springs 49-39 in the state tournament semifinals Friday night.”You never know when you are going to get a chance again – and luckily we got a second chance,” said Roaring Fork head coach Roger Walters. “We just have to hope the moons and stars are aligned and things will go our way this year.”And just like last year, the Rams will face Denver Christian in the championship, tipping off at 7:45 tonight at Moby Arena at Colorado State University.Pagosa Springs didn’t make it easy for the Rams to get to the title game.With less than four minutes remaining in the game and the score tied at 36, it looked like a game-winning shot, like A.J. Joiner’s last-second 3-pointer that put the Rams ahead in Thursday’s semifinal against Faith Christian, may decide who goes on and who goes home. Instead, the Rams just used their defense – a tool that has worked all season.And it worked again.A.J. Joiner stole a Pirate pass leading to a Kade Gianinetti layup. Then Torrey Udall rejected a Craig Schutz shot which led to a layup of his own.Kyle Raaflaub picked off another Pagosa Springs pass and found Derek Parker waiting under the hoop on a fast break. Parker hit and with two minutes to go, the Rams had converted three turnovers into six points and a 42-36 lead.”Defense has carried us this whole way – that is what we do best,” said Parker, who recorded 11 points and three steals in the contest. “Our offense comes off of our defense.” Chance: see next pageCasey Schutz sank a jumper for the Pirates on the next play, but the Rams had already stolen the game’s momentum. Roaring Fork then sealed the deal with free throws. Tena and Parker hit 3-of-4 and Raaflaub hit another to give Roaring Fork the victory. The Rams jumped ahead early in the game, starting the contest with a 7-0 run and ending the first quarter with an 18-11 advantage. Pagosa Springs fought back all game, but never fully recovered from the early deficit.”It was good to see them come out without any jitters and we knew (the Pirates) would have their runs, they are a great team, have a great coach and we were just real fortunate to get this one,” Walters said.Tena was called for two charges in the first 10 minutes, and had to sit for the majority of the first half in foul trouble. The Rams’ bench stepped up in his absence, scoring 16 of the teams 49 points in the night.”(The fouls) brought me down a lot and my team picked me up a lot,” said Tena, who still managed to score 12 points. “They helped me out and lifted me up. That’s just dedication from my whole team and I appreciate it. They’ve always got my back.”Udall finished the game with seven points, including a trey, Raaflaub sank two 3-pointers in a seven-point effort and Joiner added another six.The Ram fans, who outnumber any other teams’ fans at Moby, had been cheering loud all game long and celebrated with the team after the game. “I try to focus, but sometimes they are so loud I just have to look up at them,” Parker said. “They are great. I love our fans. They give us a lot of energy.” Now the Rams will face Denver Christian again, in a repeat of last year’s title match and Roaring Fork plans on playing the same way they have all year.”We are going to do our thing, play our style of basketball. It’s worked so far so I don’t see a reason to deviate,” Tena said.Player of the game: Derek Parker, 11 points, three rebounds, three steals and one assistPlay of the game: When Torrey Udall stuffed Pagosa Springs’ Craig Schutz, Roaring Fork started to fast break and found Udall under the basket for an easy layup.Hot Hand: Kyle Raaflaub continued to stay on fire behind the 3-point line, hitting both attempts.Unbelievable play: When Torrey Udall stepped out of the paint to drain a 3.Up next: Roaring Fork will now play in the Class 3A state championship tonight at 7:45 against Denver Christian/Colorado Springs Christian School.

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