Aspen’s experience shows in sweep
At night’s end, the senior-rich Skiers found themselves on the winning end of a 56-41 affair.
The Devils were solid on defense all evening, but couldn’t seem to get it going offensively, combining for just eight two-point baskets the whole night. The rest of their scoring came from the free-throw line and from beyond the arc.
“Overall, we played a great game defensively,” said Eagle Valley coach Phil Cain. “Our goal was to hold them to under 59, which we did. Offensively, though, we just plain struggled. Scoring 41 points in the whole game tells me we have to improve quite a bit on our offense.”
There were some definite bright spots for the home team. Junior Jared Schlegel chipped in for eight points off the bench and helped provide some of the defensive pressure, forcing several turnovers.
“It was nice to see Schlegel get his shot back into a rhythm,” said Cain.
Trailing just 13-11 after one quarter, the Devils seemed poised to make a go of it with their Pitkin County rivals. However, turnovers and missed shots, combined with the strong play of Aspen’s Nick Farrell and Phil Salazar, who poured in 21 and 22 points, respectively, thwarted Eagle Valley’s efforts.
The halftime score was 26-16.
The second half contained more of the same for the Devils. They frustrated Aspen on the defensive end, but couldn’t convert on offense enough to get back into it.
A late-third-quarter deficit of seven would be as close as the Devils would make it. From there on, Aspen pretty much closed the door en route to a 15-point victory.
Coach Cain and the rest of the team talked about everyone stepping up and making the most of the rest of the season starting with their game at Hotchkiss tonight.
“It was a close game last time,” said Cain. “We lost to them by six, so we like our chances this time.”
Fast start propels Lady Skiers
The Aspen High School girls’ team rolled into town Friday night in much the same fashion as its male counterpart. A senior-laden Lady Skiers’ squad would rely on their extensive experience and a dominant post-game to prevail in a 55-35 win over the Lady Devils.
Eagle Valley’s gameplan was not to let Aspen out to an early lead. However, at the end of one quarter, the Devils found themselves on the losing end of a 20-4 ballgame.
“Aspen has a pretty darn good basketball team,” said the Lady Devil’s head coach Mike Vidakovich. “We had talked to the girls about coming out strong and getting a good start and we did just the opposite. They got into their big girl (No. 25, Lizzie Sutter), and got up 16 in the first quarter.”
Eagle Valley did not go away, though. The team’s hustle and determination on defense was admirable considering the fact they were facing a more battle-tested and physically superior squad.
Aspen’s Sutter had 27 points for the game. Despite double- and triple-teams on defense, the Lady Devils could not slow her down.
“When we converged on her, they just kicked it out and hit some shots from three,” said Vidakovich. “They beat up on us pretty good but the girls never quit. I’m proud of everyone of them.”
Eagle Valley had some solid contributions from freshman Amanda Padilla and junior Trista Sandoval. Both girls dumped in nine in the losing effort.
The ladies will travel to Hotchkiss, whom they beat by 11 earlier in the year. It should be a good opportunity to notch another league win.
“Hopefully, we can get a league win,” remarked the coach. “The district tournament is coming up, which means this is kind of the beginning of the end. There’s five playoff spots in this league, and our goal was to get one of those, so we’ve got to keep fighting.”
That shouldn’t be a problem for this young group of scrappy players.
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