Prep basketball season arrives with high expectations for Basalt boys | AspenTimes.com

Prep basketball season arrives with high expectations for Basalt boys

Excitement? Yes.

Pressure? Not so much.

That seems to be the vibe for the Basalt High School boys basketball team entering the 2016-17 season.

“There is no pressure on them. They just want to come out and compete every night,” said fourth-year head coach Danny Martinez. “We got everybody back and we are excited about it. They have been working hard and they are ready to go.”

The winter prep season gets going today, and the BHS boys basketball team could be one of the better area teams to keep an eye on. The Longhorns won only nine combined games in Martinez’s first two seasons, but exploded onto the stage last winter by going 17-6 overall.

Their season ended with a 54-52 overtime loss to Pagosa Springs in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.

Basalt lost no seniors from a season ago, and returns all key players from that 17-win team. The Longhorns should again be led by 6-foot, 7-inch senior Michael Glen, who led the team last year with 18.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, according to MaxPreps. Glen is receiving a lot of attention from Division II universities.

“He can play some ball,” Martinez said of Glen. “He’s fun to watch. I haven’t seen a kid with that much talent in a long time in Basalt.”

Also back is junior Raul Torres, who was second on the team with 10 points per game last year, and senior Wade Soho, who was third with 7.2 points per game. The return of the frontcourt duo of Pablo and Pedro Rivera, both seniors, and a deep bench add to the excitement.

“We’ve been having a good two weeks of practice,” Martinez said. “It will be a good year for us, I believe.”

The Longhorns get their season going at 7:30 p.m. tonight with a three-day, three-game tournament, hosted by Centauri High School in La Jara. Basalt plays Del Norte (12-12 last season) in the first round.

The Basalt girls basketball team also starts play tonight in La Jara, with a 6 p.m. game against Del Norte (19-7 last season) in the first round. The Longhorn girls are in their first season under 2008 BHS graduate Kat Fitzpatrick.

The BHS girls have only one varsity senior — last year’s leading scorer, Carsyn Knotts. The rest of the 12-player roster includes seven juniors and four freshmen.

“I’m really excited about it, because the freshmen that are coming in, they had a really successful season last year in middle school,” Fitzpatrick said. “The overall attitude and mindset in the gym is really positive and optimistic, so it’s been really fun.”

Also beginning their season tonight is the Aspen High School girls basketball team, coached by Greg Peterson. The Skiers are coming off back-to-back 1-19 seasons. They open the season at 7:30 p.m. at host Meeker High School (9-11 last season), the first game of a three-day tournament.

The Aspen boys will start their season Dec. 8, also in Meeker.

acolbert@aspentimes.com