Roaring Fork preview: Rams to rely on youth this season
ROARING FORK RAMS
Head coach: Larry Williams (Seventh season).
Last season: 11-12 overall, 9-7 in 3A Western Slope League play. Lost to Colorado Academy in regional round of 3A state tournament.
Key Returners: Ben Carpenter, Sr. G; Aldo Pinela, Soph., G; Raul Leyba, Sr. F; Ray Acuna, Sr. P; Chering Sherpa, Sr. G.
Others to Watch: Adrian Chavez, Sr. P; Jassiel Petetan, Soph., G; Gustavo Oliva, Jr., G.
Outlook: The 2014-15 version of the Roaring Fork Rams will feature a smaller and faster team than what the fans in Carbondale have seen in past years. Williams will try to mold a host of varsity newcomers into a cohesive unit before the Rams make their foray into the rigors of the WSL. “The league will be strong once again this year. Moffat County will be the favorite, and Grand Valley should be right there also,” said Williams, who also served a lengthy stint as the Roaring Fork girls head coach in the 1990s. “With us, early on, we’ll be trying to figure out personnel and strategy. I just hope we can be in the mix at the end. I think we will be competitive each game.” Seasoned senior guard Ben Carpenter, a returning all-league selection, will be counted on to assume a leadership role for a Roaring Fork team that is short on varsity experience.
Coach: Chris Hall (First season).
Last season: 4-15 overall, 4-12 Class 3A Western Slope League play.
Key Returners: Emily Fisher, Sr. G; Ashley Hall, Soph., G; Lyndsay Hansen, Soph., P; Kendra Quezada, Sr., G.
Others to Watch: Cindy Salinas, Soph., P; Lily Ramos, Soph., G; Katie Wiemer, Soph., G.
Outlook: Hall is in his first season with the Ram ladies after taking over for longtime coach Kirk Cheney. Much like the boys program in Carbondale, Hall will have a young team dominated by sophomores that will take the court when Roaring Fork opens the season on Dec. 5 in the Brenda Patch Tournament against the Rifle Bears. Senior Emily Fisher, along with sophomore Ashley Hall, will need to be steady players on the perimeter for the Rams, while 6 foot sophomore post player Lyndsay Hansen will have to mature quickly into a player the Rams can count on near the basket. Coach Hall expects Olathe, Coal Ridge, and Grand Valley to be in the thick of the WSL league race. Moffat County always finds a way to factor into the race for the league title also.
CARBONDALE — Roaring Fork High boys basketball guard Ben Carpenter has been a starter all three seasons he has been on the Rams’ varsity squad. Carpenter will also assume the role of team captain this season, the third time he has been chosen to do so.
Carpenter, who was voted to the all-Class 3A Western Slope League team last season by the league’s coaches, will be counted on to wear multiple hats by coach Larry Williams if the Rams are to be a factor in the Western Slope League race this season.
“Ben will need to get the other guys on our team involved and help them figure out their roles as we go along,” Williams said. “He’s a defensive stopper, and he has always been a great leader for us to this point.”
Along with Carpenter, Roaring Fork returns sophomore guard Aldo Pinela as the only returning starters from a team that advanced to the 3A regional round before losing to eventual state runner-up Colorado Academy.
With a much smaller team than in years past, Williams hopes to have his charges play at a faster pace this season in order to maximize the wealth of speed that is on the varsity roster.
New Roaring Fork girls coach Chris Hall takes over the program this year, stepping in for Kirk Cheney who guided the Ram ladies the past four winter campaigns. Senior Emily Fisher, a very reliable perimeter shooter, will be Hall’s only returner who saw extensive varsity action last year.
“We’re young, but the chemistry on the team is very good and the attitude is positive,” Hall said. “We expect to be competitive this year.”
Sophomore Ashley Hall, the coach’s daughter, will take the reins as Roaring Fork point guard and play caller of the team, while Fisher will be counted on for her outside shooting touch.
“Ashley [Hall] will control the flow of the offense, and we will look to Emily [Fisher] for leadership and scoring,” coach Hall said.
The Rams will have a big girl near the basket in 6-foot sophomore Lyndsay Hansen, who may end up reminding Roaring Fork basketball followers of the days when the Gianinetti twins — Hattie and Megan — gave opponents fits both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court.
“We’ll count on Lyndsay to control the inside,” Hall said.
If his young team can find an identity through the league roller-coaster ride, Hall may have a group that can contend come tournament time in late February.
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