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Skiers’ defense stumps Roaring Fork boys

Dale Strode
dstrode@aspentimes.com

ASPEN — This time, Aspen High School’s boys basketball team started with defense. Shoe-queaking, passing-lane, shut-down defense.

The Skiers, fueled by a scrambling defense, stormed to a 15-0 lead over visiting Roaring Fork on a stormy Tuesday night.

The Aspen boys, ranked No. 9 in the state in Class 3A in this week’s Associated Press prep basketball poll, used the defensive fuel and an assist-heavy offense to beat the Rams, 53-30, for their ninth consecutive win.

“It starts with defense every single game,” said Aspen senior Trent Lichtenwalter, who led the Skiers with 23 points and 10 rebounds. He said the Skiers wanted to start fast with an intense defense after beating the Rams by only three points a month ago.

“That’s exactly what happened,” he said of the Aspen defense leading to an efficient offense at the other end. “We knew we could play better.”

Lichtenwalter praised his teammates’ passing on he offensive end.

“They kept feeding me,” said Lichtenwalter, who scored off assists from all four other Aspen starters — Clayton Crawford, Dominik Alcorta, Levi Wright and Evan Patzoldt.

Crawford had eight and eight — points and rebounds. Patzoldt scored 12 for the Skiers, including a pair of 3-pointers.

“Great teamwork (Friday night),” Aspen coach Steve Ketchum said after the Skiers improved to 11-2, 10-0 in the 3A WSL. “They were giving it up. They didn’t care who scored.”

Only four turnovers in the second half certainly helped.

“We played so well defensively in that first quarter,” Ketchum said. “That was a quality win.”

Timmy Nielsen led Roaring Fork with 12 points, including two 3-pointers, as the Rams made a big run in the third quarter when they outscored the Skiers 12-9.

Ben Carpenter, one of the league’s top 3-point shooters, had three treys Tuesday night, finishing with 10 points for the Rams (6-9 overall, 6-6 in league).

The Skiers will play again tonight at Basalt in the makeup of Friday night’s snowed-out game. Roaring Fork continues league play at

GIRLS

Roaring Fork 51, Aspen 14

ASPEN — Autumn Grandberry and Maddie Nieslanik helped set the pace on the scoreboard for the Rams (3-12 overall, 3-9 league play), who snapped a five-game skid with a victory over the Skiers.

Grandberry finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, and Nieslanik added nine point and eight boards for the Rams, who took a 30-6 halftime lead after leading 12-4 after one quarter. Emily Fisher added 11, and Toni Gross and Cindy Salinas scored seven. Roaring Fork also hit five 3-pointers.

Aspen’s Mary Landis finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Skiers (0-12, 0-9).


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