Poor shooting hurts Aspen
FORT COLLINS — The Aspen High School boys basketball team had every opportunity in the early moments to run away with the championship of the Class 3A consolation bracket.
It didn’t happen, and the Skiers paid for it late.
Aspen could not overcome a nightmarish shooting effort Saturday morning against Yuma, wasting a strong defensive performance out of the gate and forcing the Skiers to watch Yuma hoist the fifth-place trophy after a 48-39 loss in the final day of the Class 3A tournament at Moby Arena.
“No one is more disappointed than the kids are how this last game ended,” Aspen coach Steve Ketchum said. “(Yuma) is a team I know that we can beat, probably should have beat. But you have to shoot the ball well and you have to put the ball in the basket, and we did not do that.
We had a very, very poor shooting night.”
Yuma outscored the Skiers 20-8 at the free-throw line, but that disparity was not as damaging to Aspen as its performance from 3-point range.
Pat Rooney/ Special to the Daily Sentinel
The Skiers went 1 for 19 from beyond the arc, though none of those misses hurt Aspen as much as the five it missed during the first quarter. Aspen was strong defensively at the start, holding Yuma without one field goal during the first quarter.
But too many turnovers — the Skiers had five in the first quarter — and Aspen’s poor shooting allowed Yuma to stay in the game.
“During the season, we’ve had games where we’re up 10, 12 points, and then we let down and let them back in,” said senior Walker Abrahamovich, who led Aspen with 12 points. “We’ve had a few of those. It’s pretty frustrating because usually we’re a pretty good 3-point shooting team.
We just couldn’t find it.”
Yuma guard Jaden Winger torched the Skiers in the second half, scoring 18 of his game-high 23 points after the break on a flurry of drives that led to layups and a 13 for 19 effort from the free-throw line.
Despite the shooting woes, the game was tied 37-37 with about four minutes remaining after a 3-pointer by Aspen guard Matthew Holmes, the Skiers’ only 3-pointer of the contest. Yuma, though, outscored Aspen 11-2 the rest of the way.
“We didn’t have an answer for (Winger), who was just dynamite,” said Ketchum, who loses only three seniors. “It wasn’t lack of effort or anything else. (Winger) just got us. He just found a way to get the rim and we couldn’t keep him from getting to the rim, and we would foul. We fouled too much. Layups and free throws, that was it.”