Udall looks to lead Rams to finals | PostIndependent.com

Udall looks to lead Rams to finals

Despite having just one senior on the team, the Roaring Fork girls basketball team doesn’t lack on leadership.

Rams head coach Jacky Gaddis has said on more than one occasion this season that post Tarn Udall is worth much more than just one senior.

And others around the state agree.

Udall led her team to the district and regional titles in the past two weeks, won the Western Slope League sportsmanship award and, to cap it off, was named the Rocky Mountain News/News 4 Class 3A girls player of the year.

Udall is the second Ms. Basketball from Roaring Fork, following Tricia Bader, who graduated in 1991.

“I never even considered that I’d be chosen for that,” Udall said of the state-wide honor. “It’s a great honor and huge surprise.

“I had no idea they even knew who I was,” she added. “We definitely have one of the best leagues in the state and maybe people are starting to realize that we can play good basketball over here (on the Western Slope).”

Udall, who is also a Boettcher Scholar, and the other nine classification players of the year will be honored during News 4’s coverage of state tournament action on Saturday. Roaring Fork opens play today in the “Great 8” round against Platte Valley at 8:45 a.m. at Moby Arena in Fort Collins.

Udall beat out 13 other Class 3A nominees for the honor, including Basalt’s Lauren Redfern and Frederick’s Chelsie Rademacher, the high scorer in 3A.

The 6-foot-0 post certainly contributes her share of points, but it’s her well-rounded game and dominance of the boards that got her the Ms. Basketball nod. She led Class 3A with 13.5 rebounds per game and also tallied almost 16 points per contest.

“In past year’s its been scoring, but this I never felt the pressure to score,” said Udall, pointing out that there are plenty of other Roaring Fork players who can fill the basket. “I think rebounding is definitely something I bring to the team that we might lack otherwise.”

“She’s not only strong and talented, but she really has a knack for where the ball is going to be,” Eagle Valley coach Mike Vidakovich said after playing the Rams earlier this season. “She seems to know where (the ball) is going when it comes off the rim.”

Udall’s also is able to put the team on her back and drag her teammates to a victory. Against rival Basalt in the district title game, the Rams trailed by nine points in the third quarter before Udall scored 11 straight Rams’ points to get Roaring Fork back in the game.

“I don’t like to lose,” Udall said. “Especially to one team two or three times a season, it gets a little old.”

The Rams took the cue from Udall and never let up after she started the run, rolling to a 71-59 victory over a team they hadn’t beaten in more than 10 games.

“The leadership part just sort of comes naturally,” said Udall, who comes from a family filled with political leaders. “This year I’ve focused on being a little more vocal on the floor instead of just leading by actions.

“Whatever I can do to help our mental play keep up with our physical abilities.”

The Rams will likely need all their mental and physical abilities for the next few days.

No. 5 seed Roaring Fork (22-2) faces Platte Valley (23-2) in an early-morning contest today at 8:45. Platte Valley is the same team that knocked the Rams out of the postseason in last year’s regionals.

“We ended up losing by six and we should have won that game,” Udall said of last year’s contest. “It’s pretty much the same team and same players and we matched up well with them last year.

“We have a lot of confidence right now,” she added. Platte Valley “is definitely a great team, but anyone is from this point.”

Forward/post Stevie Hagemeister and point guard Alison Cheney lead the Broncos with more than 16 points per game. The only two losses for Platte Valley this season came against Patriot League foe Eaton.

The winners of this morning’s game advance to the semifinal game at 7 p.m. and face the winner of the Basalt (20-4) vs. Kent Denver (23-1) contest at 7 p.m. The losers play in the elimination bracket Friday at 11:45 a.m.

Udall admits she’s pulling for Basalt. But, if they see each other in the semifinals “It’s war.”

“We wish them well until we tip off together,” Udall said.

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