Roaring Fork keeps getting better and keeps notching wins |

Roaring Fork keeps getting better and keeps notching wins

by Phil Sandoval
Post Independent Staff
Post Independent Photo/Jim Noelker

CARBONDALE ” It’s hard to imagine a team with 12 straight wins and a No. 1 ranking as improving, but that’s how Roaring Fork High School girls basketball coach Jacky Gaddis looks at her squad.

“At the end of the season, it’s all starting to come together,” said Gaddis after Saturday’s 60-39 win over Cedaredge. “I think we all say that it is, even if we believe it or not. But, I can truthfully tell you it’s all coming together and it is together.”

At least Cedaredge agrees with Gaddis’ appraisal.

After a sluggish first quarter in which the Rams (12-1 Western Slope League, 17-1 overall) lost a seven-point lead, then moved ahead 18-17 at the end of the period on a pair of Tarn Udall free throws, Roaring Fork got serious.

The Rams tore off a 17-0 scoring run in the final 5 minutes of the first half to put the game out of reach.

“Pushing the ball was the difference,” Gaddis said. “I thought we would be quicker than Cedaredge, but still, they are a very physical team and it was a very physical game. I thought our finesse made the difference.”

Udall scored 13 of her team-high 15 points before intermission. The senior also pulled down 20 rebounds.

Defensively, the Rams limited Cedaredge to one field goal in 16 tries in the second quarter and allowed the Bruins a meager four points to create the big lead.

Roaring Fork concludes the regular season Friday at home against Basalt. If the Rams win the game against the Longhorns, regardless of what Basalt does in Tuesday’s contest at Hotchkiss, they earn the WSL title and the No. 1 seed at next week’s district tournament.

GYPSUM ” The Devils gave the No. 1 Class 3A team in the state a good scare on Friday the 13th, but the Rams didn’t flinch in the end, pulling away from a close four-point game in the fourth quarter to win convincingly, 70-59.

“They are the No. 1 team in the state,” said Devils coach Mike Vidakovich. “We cut it to 57-53, but they came right out of a timeout and they answered our run with another run. They never really panicked or anything.”

The Rams started slowly in the first quarter as Eagle Valley shot out to a 16-8 lead behind the precision shooting of guard Rachel Sandoval. The sophomore cracked open a 6-6 tie midway through the first quarter with two consecutive 3-pointers, one coming off of a steal from senior point guard Trista Sandoval.

The Devils couldn’t keep up the pressure, though, as the Rams surged back with a 10-0 run to close out the quarter up by two points.

The SportsCenter highlight of the night came on the last shot of the period when Roaring Fork’s Carly Velasquez received a wide open pass from point guard Ashley Jensen and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Roaring Fork would never relinquish its lead, although it didn’t pull away, either, until the game’s closing minutes.

The key to the Rams’ attack was a steady diet of senior center Tarn Udall in the paint, seasoned with a little bit of Megan Zeigel, Laura Wright and Jensen.

Udall finished with 18 points on the night to go with 19 rebounds, while Velasquez notched 16. Zeigel and Wright added eight and 10 points, respectively.

The Devils almost single-handedly stayed in the game behind the shooting of Sandoval, who finished with a game-high 20 points, nailing six 3-pointers.

“We really wanted to beat the Rams,” said Sandoval. “We gave it our all, but I felt like we could have followed our coaches’ directions a little better. I think we relied on the outside shot too much.”

Kenzie Shreeve also helped out with 10 points, but was also shut down in some of the game’s crucial moments, specifically in the third quarter and the last half of the fourth quarter.

“At the end, we started shooting long ones, and I don’t think Kenzie touched the ball the last three minutes of the game,” said Vidakovich. “We want to go inside out, but we didn’t seem to do that.”

“We always have a tough time here at Eagle Valley,” added Lady Rams coach Jacky Gaddis. “They are so tough and they never let up.”

With the loss, the Devils fell to 6-7 in league play.

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