Skiers fall to Longhorns … |

Skiers fall to Longhorns …

Ben Husband

BASALT – The curse continues for the Aspen High School boys’ basketball team and the streak continues for Basalt.

But this time, it didn’t mean a thing for either team.

Instead it was a battle of pride.

And like every game between these two Roaring Fork Valley teams in the last three-and-a-half years, the Longhorns came out on top.

Wrapping up Western Slope Conference lay Saturday at the Big House in Basalt, the Longhorns defeated Aspen’s Skiers 68-62 in a thriller.

Michael Palmer and Forrest Woolery combined for 34 points – Palmer led all scorers with 18 while Woolery added 16 – to lead the Longhorns.

Palmer connected for four 3-pointers on the night.

The Skiers, who finished 9-2 in league play (14-5 overall), were led by Ryan Kerr, who scored 17 including three 3-pointers.

Lucas Farrell scored 12 points, with a pair of 3-point baskets.

“This was a matter of pride – nothing more,” Aspen coach Steve Ketchum said. “I knew our situation coming into tonight for the District Tournament, so it didn’t really mean anything for either team.”

“There’s always a little pride involved,” Basalt coach Bill Crowley said of the matchup with Aspen.

“But we just always try to focus on playing well this time of year and that’s what we’re trying to do right now.”

Aspen, who defeated Roaring Fork Friday 60-52 in Carbondale in another thriller, finished the regular season in second place of the WSC standings with a 9-2 record behind league champion Eagle Valley,10-1.

AHS receives a first-round bye into the first round of the Class 3A District Tournament beginning Thursday.

The second-seeded Skiers will host the winner of the Battle Mountain (No. 10) at Meeker (No. 7) pigtail game.

Basalt received a fifth seed and will host Paonia (No. 12) on Tuesday evening at the Big House.

The winner of that game will face Roaring Fork, the fourth seed, Thursday in Carbondale.

Eagle Valley, the league champion courtesy of a 61-59 win at Roaring Fork last weekend, will host the winner of Gunnison (No. 8) at Hotchkiss (No. 9) pigtail game.

Against the Skiers, Basalt jumped to a quick 10-0 lead with just under three minutes left to play in the opening period.

Aspen then scored its first basket of the game when senior point guard Harris Mufson stripped BHS senior Rodney Crawford for the easy layup.

But Basalt then added two quick buckets to go up 14-2 and Mufson picked up his third foul, sending him to the bench.

Aspen senior center Andrew Smith then hit an unusual 3-pointer and Kerr sank a long jumper to get the Skiers back into the game.

In the second period, Aspen came alive outscoring the Longhorns 20-16, behind seven points from Kerr and six from Farrell. But Basalt went into the locker room at halftime with a 32-27 lead.

The third period saw Aspen come to within three points, but that was as close as the Skiers cold get as the Longhorns answered.

Plus the Skiers lost SMith in the final period when he went down with an ankle injury. He had to be carried off the floor. Smith’s status for this week’s game is not yet known.

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