BHS ladies end season with loss to Frederick
FREDERICK – The door closed on a brilliant season for the Basalt High School girls’ basketball team Saturday.
Playing Frederick in the Class 3A Regionals, the Warriors got 33 points from 3A’s top-scoring machine, Jennifer Tagliente, in a 59-46 win over the Longhorns at Frederick High School.
Frederick (21-1) advances to the 3A High School Basketball State Championships in Colorado Springs beginning Thursday at the Air Force Academy.
The loss puts closure to a tremendous season from the Longhorns (13-8), who began Western Slope Conference play in early January with a dismal 1-5 record.
Basalt would only lose three more games the rest of the year – twice to Rangely and Saturday’s loss to Frederick.
“It’s always hard to end a season,” said second-year BHS coach Debbie Cain. “I thought the girls played great. I’m so proud of them.” An exciting half The game began with an exciting opening half as both teams battled for the lead.
After taking a 3-0 lead behind a fastbreak layup from Ambere Cunningham and a free throw from Kelli Corrigan, Frederick answered with 10 straight points, including five from Tagliente, to take a 10-3 lead en route to a 14-9 lead after the first period.
In the second period, after the Warriors took a 22-11 lead, Basalt unleashed the bombs.
Heather Kappeli, Kate LaMaster and Cunningham hit back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Frederick’s lead to just two, 22-20.
Frederick then took a 26-20 lead with 1:40 to play in the half. Basalt outscored the Warriors 9-5 to close the half as Frederick went into the locker room with a slim 31-29 lead.
Basalt opened the third period with a pair of Corrigan free throws to tie the game at 31-31.
Frederick then scored the game’s next six points taking a 37-31 lead, but Basalt answered with a 4-0 run, cutting the Warrior lead to two, 37-35, at the 4:16 mark.
Then the Warriors erupted with a 9-0 run – seven from Tagliente – to close the period and take a 46-35 lead heading into the final period.
“That period really hurt us,” Cain said. “They took control of the game with that little run.”
Tagliente scored eight of Frederick’s first 10 fourth-quarter points to all but shut the door on Basalt.
“She’s is an amazing player,” Cain said. “She’s plays like a champion and that’s what it takes to win big games like these.”
Corrigan led Basalt with 17 points – seven in the opening period. LaMaster netted 11 while Kappelli and Cunningham added six and five, respectively. Confidence booster Despite losing on the brink of the 3A State Tournament, the Longhorns are graduating just one player this year and will be returning the core of the team next year.
“We have our major crew coming back next year,” Cain said.
Although suffering the season-ending loss to the Warriors, Cain said it will give the young Longhorns fuel for next season.
“It was so important for this team to get this taste,” she said. “They now know what getting here takes – this is exciting for them and for me especially for next season.
“I’ve got girls that love basketball and want to work hard for next year,” she continued. “Of course they’re crushed that they lost, but they are a good team and they had a great season and hopefully we’ll learn from this year and take it into next season.”
LaMaster said that the season-ending loss “is hard right now, but we all know that we’re coming back.”
“This was a good learning experience for us this year,” Kappelli said. “I think it will make us want to do even better next year.”
In only her second season as a head coach, Cain took the Longhorns to one of their best seasons in school history.
“I’ve never seen a team come from a dismal 1-5 preseason and do what they did,” she said. “They worked hard all season long, they wanted to win and they wanted to prove to everybody that they belonged here and they did.
“I’m proud of where these girls got,” Cain added. “In my eyes, they are champions.”
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