Basalt girls hoops bounces toward Aspen showdown
After winning the biggest game of the young season Thursday night over Roaring Fork, the Basalt High School girls basketball team netted a pair of wins Friday and Saturday.
With the victories, Basalt improved to 7-0 in Class 3A Western Slope League play and 15-1 overall, setting the stage for Saturday’s showdown with Aspen, the only other unbeaten team in league play.
In front of a crowd of several hundred at Basalt High Thursday night, the Longhorn team wore down Roaring Fork and prevailed 60-47. Previously unbeaten in league play, the loss dropped Roaring Fork’s record to 5-1 in league and 8-5 overall (through Thursday).
Junior point guard Molly McGrath converted three 3-point plays for Basalt in the first half as her team opened up a 36-23 lead at the intermission and maintained that margin throughout most of the second half.
McGrath led Basalt with 19 points total, followed by senior Heather Kappeli with 17. Stephanie Kemp added 9 points for Basalt and Mariah Mulcahy scored 7.
Roaring Fork guard Emily Markham led the Rams with 23 points, followed by senior center Ren Udall with 9.
“Our defense was key,” said Basalt coach Debbie Cain. “I thought we played great man-to-man defense.”
Cain credited the play of senior Christy Thompson, who succeeded in limiting Roaring Fork’s Udall to just 9 points, well below her average.
On Friday, Basalt traveled to Rangely (0-5, 2-12). Despite a slight letdown from the emotional victory the night before, Basalt cruised to a 44-27 win.
After taking a 21-17 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Longhorns allowed Rangely to score just 10 more points in the second half.
“After such an emotional game against Roaring Fork,” Cain said, “it was tough going on the road. It took us a good half to get going again.”
Kappeli led Basalt in scoring with 14 points, followed by Kemp with 10. Mulcahy added 7 points.
On Saturday, Basalt made the trek to West Grand, near Steamboat, to take on the smaller, Class 2A school that’s ranked fourth in its division.
In another low-scoring defensive struggle, Basalt won 42-27.
“West Grand played great defense the whole game. It was just one of those games where nothing would go in for us or them. Our girls were tired but they stuck with it,” Cain said.
Kemp and Kappeli led Basalt with 8 points each, followed by McGrath with 7 and Mulcahy with 6.
Basalt hosts Cedaredge (2-4, 10-5) on Friday and then plays Aspen (6-0, 12-3) Saturday in a battle of the league unbeatens. Both Basalt and Aspen are ranked in the top 10 in the state’s Class 3A division.
“I’m expecting a big weekend,” Cain said. “Cedaredge is much improved over last year, and of course, against Aspen it’s going to be huge.”
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