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Titan boys turn attention to future after loss to Skiers

Phil Sandoval
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PALISADE, Colorado ” Yes, Aspen did pummel Coal Ridge 73-42.

Now forget it.

The Titans (19-3) have a bigger task at hand this week. And more basketball to play as they ready to open play in the upcoming regional round of the Class 3A boys state playoffs later this week.



The site, date and Coal Ridge’s first-round opponent is scheduled to be announced by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) later today.

Paul Harvey, the Titans’ first-year head coach, is upbeat about the challenge ahead.



Why? Because, he’s seen positives emerge out of disappointment like Saturday’s 3A Western Slope League district championship game loss up close before.

“I’ve been with a team who had lost in districts and go on to win state,” he said. “We have another day. Our goal is to get to the last week of the season.”

Which means forget about an extremely forgettable game in which Aspen (21-1) shot 46 percent from the floor (28-for-50) and connected on 17 of 25 field-goal attempts in the first half.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Coal Ridge was cold.

The Titans had six total field goals in the first half and trailed 44-17 at intermission. The only time the outcome was close was in the opening moment when Alex Klein’s put-back basket knotted the game at 2.

Aspen broke the deadlock with three straight buckets. The six-point deficit was as close as Coal Ridge came to the Skiers the rest of the way through.

Although Coal Ridge did manage to roust itself in the remaining two quarters after halftime, the damage was done. Aspen made sure there was no uprising by outscoring Coal Ridge 12-7 in the third period before sending in the bench to mop up.

Four Skier starters finished with 11 points or better. Junior Andrew Papenfus tied Coal Ridge’s Eric Schmitz as the game’s high scorers with 19 points. Klein, the only other Titan to had more than six points in the contest, finished with 13.

The Coal Ridge girls had to sweat out the last minute of their district third-place game against Olathe before they could enjoy a hard-fought 39-37 victory over the No. 1-seeded Pirates on Saturday.

The Titans (16-6), who lost both their league games to Olathe earlier this year, trailed after the first minute of the contest to the 6 minute, 29 second mark in the fourth quarter before Mikaela Guettler gave Coal Ridge the lead when the senior converted both free throws after a Pirate personal foul.

After taking the lead, the Titans scored the next five points, as part of a 9-0 run to push the newly gained margin to 33-29 with 2:32 left to play.

Guettler had five points of her eight points in the scoring run. Teammate Matraisa Beecraft added two key baskets to extend Coal Ridge’s lead to seven going into the remaining 1:20 to play.

Beecraft led all scorers with 15 points. Emily Brummell had 11 for Olathe.

Coal Ridge finished the tournament with a 2-1 record, defeating Grand Valley 44-18 in the first round and falling to Gunnison 52-42 in the semifinals to make Saturday’s third-place game.

Despite going .500 in games involving the Cardinals boys and girls teams on Saturday, both teams will advance to regional play this week.

The Grand Valley girls took a 55-45 win in the fifth-place game with Hotchkiss after taking an 11-5 first quarter lead then finishing with a flourish, outscoring the Bulldogs 19-13 in the final period after clinging to a 36-32 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Erin Vanderpool topped the scoring ledger with 24 points. Kasi Jensen added 13 for the Cardinals (11-11). Cece Pieper and Renea Ranch had 13 and 10 points, respectively, for Olathe.

Grand Valley’s girls finished the tourney with a 2-1 record, rebounding from a 44-18 loss to Coal Ridge on Wednesday to win two straight and keep its season alive.

The Cardinals defeated Cedaredge 45-31 in the consolation semifinals on Thursday to advance to Saturday’s fifth-place game.

The Grand Valley boys lost to Gunnison 59-49 in a third-place matchup between the two teams.

Colton Cowan and Dylan Walters each had nine points for the Cards (15-7).

Three Gunnison players, led by Kolby Pringle with 21 points, all finished in double figures.

Grand Valley went 1-2 for the tournament, defeating Hotchkiss (57-35) and losing to Coal Ridge (49-45) in the first two rounds.


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