ASPEN - The Longhorns refused to watch their season end.
Basalt seniors Lindsay Corzine, Emmalee Erickson and Carina Capobianco refused to watch their high school basketball careers end.
"We didn't want this to be our last game," Corzine said after the Basalt girls beat Aspen 55-41 on Tuesday night in a play-in game for the Western Slope League Tournament.
"We knew we had to come out hard to beat Aspen. They are a rough team, and they beat us before," said Corzine, who scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds for Basalt (2-18).
The Longhorns advance to the tournament quarterfinals Thursday and a game at No. 1 Moffat County (16-3) in Craig.
Corzine, the niece of Pat and Skip Harlow, nearly posted a triple-double with eight assists against the Skiers. Several were delivered to Erickson, who led all scorers with 23 points.
"I felt confident from the beginning," said Erickson, who scored 10 point in the first half as the Longhorns moved to a 28-15 lead.
An acrobatic catch in the lane and a quick bank shot by Erickson started the Basalt girls on a defining 22-7 run in the second quarter.
The game had been close early. It was tied five times in the first quarter.
"We practice a lot of fast breaks, a lot of give-and-go," Corzine said of the speedy Longhorns, who converted multiple fast-break opportunities in the second quarter and throughout the game.
Capobianco contributed to the fast-break offense. She added 10 points as the Longhorns beat the Skiers for the second time this season, including Tuesday night's game at AHS.
"We've always been so competitive with Aspen," said Capobianco, the daughter of Charles and Martha Capobianco.
"We finally started working as a team," the BHS senior said.
The Skiers, led by four-year starter Anna Stevens, did everything they could in an effort to slow down the Longhorns.
Junior Mary Landis hit six quick points in the first quarter, helping the Aspen girls take an
8-6 lead. But Basalt baskets by Erickson and Capobianco gave the Longhorns a lead they would not relinquish.
Stevens paced a Skiers comeback bid in the third quarter when Aspen outscored Basalt 15-13.
After she scored on an Aspen in-bounds play, Stevens drilled a 3-pointer from the left side to cut Basalt's lead to nine points.
Stevens scored six more points in the final quarter to lead Aspen with 15. Landis added 12 points for the AHS girls (2-18), who were coming off a big win over Gunnison last weekend.
Maggie Ryan scored five points and had eight rebounds.
"I'm stoked," Erickson said as the Longhorns made travel plans for Craig.
"I'm excited for our next game," said Erickson, the daughter of Dan and Cynthia Erickson.
After Thursday's quarterfinals, the semifinals and championship of the Western Slope League District Tournament will be Friday and Saturday at Palisade High School.
In other first-round games Thursday for girls, No. 4 Roaring Fork (11-8, 11-5) will host No. 5 Coal Ridge (10-9, 9-7), No. 2 Olathe (15-4, 13-3) will host No. 7 Gunnison (3-12, 3-15) and No. 3 Grand Valley (14-5, 12-4) will host No. 6 Cedaredge (7-12, 6-10).
On the boys side, No. 2 Aspen (16-3, 14-2 in league) will host No. 7 Cedaredge (7-12, 5-11) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
No. 4 Basalt (7-12, 6-10) will host No. 5 Grand Valley (6-13, 6-10) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
In other boys quarterfinals, No. 1 Roaring Fork (16-3, 15-1) will host No. 8 Coal Ridge (4-15, 4-12), and No. 3 Moffat County (16-3, 13-3) will host No. 6 Gunnison (6-13, 6-10).