Longhorns prepare for huge weekend on the court | AspenTimes.com

Longhorns prepare for huge weekend on the court

Ben Husband

The first five of the season games didn’t show a lot of promise for the rest of the year for the Basalt High School girls’ basketball team.

The youthful Longhorns struggled to an 1-4 record before the holiday break.

But Basalt has been on a tear ever since, losing only once in Western Slope Conference league play – last Friday to top-ranked Rangely.

“The team has worked real hard in becoming a team,” second-year coach Debbie Cain said of her team’s dramatic turnaround. “It’s just amazing to see how they get along with each other on the court. It takes a team effort every night.”

Entering the final two games of the regular season, Basalt is in second place in the WSC standings at 8-1 with two games left – tonight against Cedaredge (5 p.m.) and Aspen Saturday (4 p.m.). Both games will be played at the Big House in Basalt.

And the Longhorns are hoping to keep their winning streak alive at the most crucial point of the season.

The Class 3A District Tournament is scheduled to begin Thursday, Feb. 18, and the top four finishers in the WSC will be awarded with a first-round game at home.

One win over the weekend, and the Longhorns likely will advance as one of those top four seeds.

Two losses could drop them out of the top four seeds and force them into a pigtail situation next Tuesday.

“We don’t want to have to play a pigtail game,” Cain said. “That’s just one more game that would take up time for us getting to where we want to go.

“But whatever happens,” Cain continued, “the girls will stand the adversity.”

Cain added, “It’s not a must-win situation until the Districts begin. And we have the confidence heading into this weekend that we can end up not playing a pigtail game.”

The Longhorns fell to Aspen in a non-league game earlier this season in the championship game of the BHS Clay Belk tournament.

But “both teams have improved since then,” said Cain. “I’m looking forward to the game.” Boys The will be no three-peat for the Basalt High School boys’ basketball team this year.

The Longhorns, who have won the Western Slope Conference championship outright the last two years, will see someone else claim the title this year.

The Longhorns are at 11-5 so far for the season (6-3 in league play) in the balanced boys division of the WSC.

With two games remaining at home – tonight against Cedaredge (6:30 p.m.) and Saturday’s big showdown with Aspen (5:30 p.m.) – the Longhorns are hoping to be among the final top four teams that will advance to the first round of the Class 3A District Tournament beginning Thursday.

Now, according to coach Bill Crowley, the Longhorns “have put ourselves in a position to play an extra game.”

That extra game is a pigtail game – a playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 16, required of the lower eight teams in the league standings.

The four winners of the pigtail games will advance to play the top four seeds of the 12-team bracket Thursday.

The Longhorns understand their hopes of being among the top four seeds may be unrealistic since three of the current top four teams have defeated them – Eagle Valley, Roaring Fork and Olathe.

“It’s been tough,” Crowley said.

‘We played those three games average,” Crowley said. “And the other teams just played better than us.”

Two losses this weekend, and the Longhorns could face a pigtail game.

Two wins could keep the Longhorns above water.

‘We want to to get back to the District Tournament,” Crowley said. “We want another shot at making it to the State Tournament.”

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