Timely win offsets losses for Roaring Fork boys | PostIndependent.com

Timely win offsets losses for Roaring Fork boys

PALISADE – The Roaring Fork boys won at the right time.

Consequently, they live to play another day.

The Rams pulled together a timely victory over Hotchkiss in the opening round of the 3A District Tournament last weekend and earned one of the coveted berths in the upcoming 3A State Basketball Tournament.

But two consecutive tournament losses, including a 66-55 defeat at the hands of Aspen in Saturday’s third-place game, tempered the Rams’ mood on the eve of the revised, 32-team 3A State Tournament.

“We played one game well this entire tournament,” Roaring Fork coach Mike Fahrenkrug said after Saturday’s frustrating loss to the Skiers before a large and loud crowd at Palisade High School.

“Fortunately, we picked the right game,” Fahrenkrug said of the Ram’s timing in the 60-55 win over high-scoring Hotchkiss. Despite a 64-49 semifinal loss to then-unbeaten Cedaredge and Saturday’s loss to Aspen, the Rams will go into the 32-team state bracket with a 10-11 overall record. They are the fourth of six teams to advance from the Western Slope District Tournament.

“We’ll have to see where we go,” Fahrenkrug said after a furious fourth-quarter Roaring Fork comeback was turned back by the Skiers.

A state tourney road trip to a high seed is likely for the Rams based on tournament finish and overall record. The Rams will play either Tuesday or Wednesday.

“But …” Fahrenkrug said, showing the agony of watching a team play in explosive spurts and then misfire. “But we’ve got to do it as a team. If you’re not executing with five guys, you’re going to struggle and we struggled,” Fahrenkrug said after the Rams fell behind by 21 points as Aspen’s offense flourished early behind junior guard Nick Farrell.

After juggling his lineup extensively, the Rams finally swarmed with a late comeback in the fourth quarter. Down 19, Roaring Fork counted a 3-pointer from Juan Quintero, a basket by Dan Markoya, two foul shots by Levi Applegate and an inside hoop from Kaid Harris. Still the Rams trailed by 13 with 2:47 to play.

A Harris rebound then led to a Quintero 3-point bank shot to cut the lead to 10.

Arnie Hernandez stole the inbounds pass and Quintero hit another 3-pointer to pull Roaring Fork to within 56-49 with 2:07 to play.

But the Rams would get no closer as Farrell finished the deal for the Skiers by hitting 5-of-6 free throws over the final 42 seconds.

Farrell led all scorers with 32 points, including four 3-pointers. He also had six steals and a half-dozen assists in a followup performance to his 29-point, nine-rebound game against Eagle Valley in Friday’s semifinals – a 81-66 overtime loss for Aspen.

Quintero led Roaring Fork with 19 points, including five 3-pointers. Kaid Harris added six while freshman Aaron Markham contributed five, including one trey.

Aspen’s Jeff Brence also finished in double figures with 18 points.

In Friday’s semifinals, Cedaredge pulled away in the third quarter behind 21 points from Jake Brooks in the win over Roaring Fork.

Jeff Hainy added 19 in the Bruins’ win.

Quintero led Roaring Fork with 18. Hernandez added 11 for the Rams, who will learn their fate today when the Colorado High School Activities Association 3A seeding committee sets the field for the 32-team state bracket.

Fifth-place Hotchkiss (15-8) and sixth-place Rangely (10-13) also move into the state field along with third-place Aspen (19-3) and fourth-place Roaring Fork (10-11).

In Saturday’s boys District championship, Eagle Valley shocked previously unbeaten Cedaredge 61-52. Coach Phil Cain’s Devils (17-5) reached the championship with the OT win over Aspen that featured 35 points from Micah Bernhardt.

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