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Shooting to top past success

Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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CARBONDALE, Colo. – They’ve been the state runner-up two years in a row. Dominating Class 3A’s Western Slope League during the same period, the Roaring Fork boys basketball team has a reputation for being one of the best around.But now, it’s a new season.Fourth-year coach Roger Walters knows his players have the potential to go deep into the postseason, but it won’t be easy. Despite having five players back from last year’s 23-2 squad, Walters knows Roaring Fork has a lot of work to do.”We look good on paper, but you don’t play games on paper,” Walters said. “We’ve got a long ways to go.”

The Rams graduated four starters last year in Christian Tena, A.J. Joiner, Parker Nieslanik and Derek Parker. In Walters’ eyes, he’s got the same amount this year.”That fifth spot rotated between Kyle (Raaflaub), Kade (Gianinetti), Trevor (Hunt) and Tyler (Hunt),” Walters said of last year’s starting lineup. “So I look at it as we have four starters back.”Gianinetti will be a point guard, while the Hunt brothers will also fill in as guards. The Rams will have more height this year with 6-foot-5-inch Raaflaub and 6-foot-6 Torrey Udall. While both are effective 3-point shooters, Walters will also be keeping them busy in the paint.”We’ll run a lot of the same stuff,” he said. “We’ve thrown in a few wrinkles to help us get the ball inside. It will be nice having two big kids.”Raaflaub and Udall are both recovering from injuries sustained in the football season, with Raaflaub just being cleared to play again last week. They will both see time in today’s scrimmage against Glenwood and be on the court for the Brenda Patch Tournament this weekend when the Rams play Battle Mountain and Steamboat.”They’re probably both at 80 percent,” Walters said of his big-men duo.

Having a closely knit team that has played together for years, on the basketball court as well as the football field, provides what Walters believes is the squad’s biggest strength.”We have really good team chemistry, the kids care about each other,” he said. “They know the system really well, and they play really hard.”The Rams won’t be starting the season with pushover opponents. As Roaring Fork faces two Class 4A teams this weekend, the Rams will see what looks good and what needs improvement. “When you play teams that are better than you, it points out your weaknesses real quick,” Walters said.



Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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