Roaring Fork has eyes set on state tourney |

Roaring Fork has eyes set on state tourney

Joelle Milholm
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” Things are a little different for Roaring Fork this time around.

After winning four straight Class 3A Western Slope League and District 2 Championships, the Rams now enter the regional round as the runner-up in both. It means they’ll be on the road and not the usual No. 1 seed, but with the downsides, come the upsides.

Despite being handed the a No. 3 seed in the Bob Chavez Region, the Rams have their 17-5 record on their side.

“If you look at the region we are in, we have the best record of any of the other three schools,” said Roaring Fork head coach Roger Walters. “If we had to go anywhere at least Denver isn’t the end of the world. It’s not Ignacio.”

Roaring Fork, who is ranked No. 7 according to RockyPreps, has also had to play its fair share of difficult games. The Rams lost one game to 4A Liberty early in the season and three more losses came to Aspen (No. 5 RockyPreps), with two that were decided in the closing seconds in the regular season and the most recent coming in the form of a 56-45 District 2 title contest on Saturday.

“I don’t think people realize just how good Aspen is. They are a final-four caliber team,” Walters said. “Last game we didn’t play incredibly well but we were able to hang close. The other two games, if we make one basket, it’s different. We are not that far off.”

So now the Rams will escape Aspen, who is on the opposite side of the bracket, and take on sixth-seeded University (14-9) in the first round of regionals on Friday at 5 p.m. at Sheridan High School in Denver. If they win, they will face the winner of the No. 2 Sheridan (14-7) and No. 7 Monte Vista (10-12) game on Saturday. The winner of that will advance to next weeks 3A state tournament ” the Great Eight in Fort Collins.

“I think the thing that will help us is we are playing teams that haven’t seen us before,” Walters said. “So they won’t play us the same way that the teams in our conference do. Maybe they will, but I think it will be better for us.”

The Rams have been paired up with University in the past when the two teams battled in a regional final at Roaring Fork in 2005. The Rams won that one, 76-49.

While the personnel has changed (as the Rams now boast the talents of senior guard Matthias Weissl, who is averaging 21.3 points per game, and Torrey Udall, a 6-foot-8 post who is scoring 17.4), Roaring Fork’s style is the same. So is the man calling the shots ” Walters, who is 112-15 in his five years with the Rams.

Then there are the seniors like Udall, Alex Hernandez and Oscar Alvarado, as well as the rest of the Rams, who don’t know what it’s like not to go to the state tournament. They’ll be doing everything they can to remain blissfully ignorant of what it would be like to miss the state tournament.

“Any time you are two away from state it is exciting,” Walters said. “If we play our best, we have chance.”

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