Roaring Fork High School roaring into ’07-08 hoops season
Roaring Fork boys basketball coach Roger Walters and his assistant, Rick Sorenson, instill sense of a quiet confidence in regards to the upcoming season. There is also an openly expressed feeling of concern as to how the perennial league champion Rams will replace graduated starters Trevor and Tyler Hunt, Kyle Raaflaub and floor general Kade Gianinetti. Coach Walters is also unsure as to whether his team can play the stifling type of defense that has been a trademark of his teams through the years in Rifle and Carbondale.”Right now, I’m concerned as to whether we can stop anyone on the defensive end,” said Walters. “We’re not as quick as in years past.”One thing does seem to be a certainty: If opposing teams manage to get past the Roaring Fork perimeter defense, they will be met by two very big Rams in the painted area -Torrey Udall and Walker Abrahamovich.The 6-foot-8 bookends will man the low-post positions for Roaring Fork this season, providing a considerable obstacle to enemy shots and penetrating guards.Udall is the lone returning starter from last year’s team that went 25-2 and finished as the state’s Class 3A consolation champions. Walters beams proudly when talking about his senior post’s work ethic and dedication to the game.”He really worked hard over the summer and improved his game,” said the 12-year veteran coach. “Torrey will have to do it all for us – score, rebound and play defense.”To start the season, the two off-guard positions will be manned by seniors Alex Hernandez and Oscar Alvarado. At the point position, Gianinetti left big shoes for the Rams to fill, but Walters is hoping that 6-foot-2 senior foreign exchange student Matthias Weissl from Austria can step in and keep the offense hitting on all cylinders. The entire coaching staff is in agreement that Weissl has the potential to have a big season for the Carbondale school.Though Walters is reluctant to talk about it, his teams have amassed an unheard of league record of 52 wins and no losses since taking over the Ram program in 2003. The coach sees a serious threat to that unblemished mark this year with the tough schedule that awaits in the 3A Western Slope League.
“The league will be as strong as we’ve ever played in,” said Walters.Aspen is the preseason favorite, returning most of the team from last season, including WSL Player of the Year Corey Parker. Walters also mentioned Coal Ridge, Gunnison, Olathe and Basalt as teams to keep an eye on.Roaring Fork will be well-coached, with Walters being joined on the bench by Rick Sorenson, and longtime assistant Thom Peabody. New to the staff this year will be Larry Williams, who had a very successful tenure as the Ram girls coach in the 1990s.Roaring Fork will christen its new gymnasium with the Brenda Patch Tournament on Nov. 30. Area basketball fans will be treated to a marquee matchup that night as the Rams will play host to Class 4A powerhouse Steamboat Springs.
Roaring Fork girls head basketball coach Kirk Cheney is expecting good things from his senior-laden team this season.”This is an awesome group of kids, a lot of fun,” Cheney said. “Probably the best team chemistry since I’ve been here.”Coming off a 10-10 campaign a year ago, and a heartbreaking loss to Olathe in the first round of districts, Cheney is hoping his team is ready to take the next step and challenge the upper echelon teams in the 3A Western Slope League.”That loss to Olathe motivated us at the time,” said the fourth-year Ram mentor. “We’ll see if the steam of that loss is still there.”Roaring Fork returns eight seniors who saw varsity playing time last season, having only to replace defensive standout Taylor Wagner.Celeste Comings will once again run the point guard position for the Rams. More often than not, as she goes, so goes her team. “She’s fun to watch. She’s our floor leader,” noted Cheney.Seniors Nikki Smeins and Rebecca Roeber will accompany Comings out on the perimeter.When Cheney talks about Smeins, it’s very similar to how longtime followers of Roaring Fork basketball might describe the coach himself.”She’s was our most consistent player last year,” said Cheney, who was a standout on the Ram’s state qualifying team in 1979. “She came out and scored between 14 and 19 points every game. We knew we’d get that from her each week.”It was Roeber, though, who ended last season on a tear. She averaged 22.5 points in the final four games of 2007, and Cheney is counting on a carry over of that production into this season.Daisy Tena, another senior, will also be in the starting lineup for the blue and gold. Cheney believes she will play with the same fire and determination that her brother, Christian, did for the Roaring Fork boys during the 2006 season.Junior Maria Flores should also contribute at the guard position, while 5-foot-10 posts Leslie French and Heather Sebald will do the majority of the work under the basket.Cheney sees last year’s state runner-up, Basalt, as the team everyone will be chasing in the league. He also looks at Olathe and Gunnison as teams to be reckoned with.
The Rams will open the season on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 on their home court, hosting the Brenda Patch Tournament. When Cheney expresses his only concern about this year’s team, it’s an intangible that has nothing to do with talent or experience.”My biggest concern is how bad we want it.”
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