Amy Contini takes over Basalt High School girls basketball program | AspenTimes.com

Amy Contini takes over Basalt High School girls basketball program

Amy Contini may be young, but she has been groomed from birth to be a coach.

"The biggest thing that drew me to coaching was my mom coached me growing up in basketball, and my dad was a high school football coach," she said. "I got to see firsthand the difference it made in kids and the difference it even made in me. I want to be a part of something like that."

Contini, 22, is taking a significant step in following in her parents' footsteps this winter by taking over as the head coach for the Basalt High School girls basketball team. She is replacing Kat Fitzpatrick, a 2008 BHS graduate, who resigned to take a non-coaching-related job outside of the Roaring Fork Valley.

A native of Alaska, Contini only moved to the area last year on recommendation from her aunt, Debbie Braun, the president and CEO of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. Contini currently works for the Element Hotel in Basalt and is an occasional substitute teacher at the high school. She has hopes of pursuing a teaching degree at Colorado Mountain College in the near future.

Contini jumped in as Basalt's "C" team coach a year ago before recently being named the varsity coach.

"I had a blast with the girls last year," Contini said. "That was my first experience, and it felt really, really natural. I feel the most me and the most natural when I am coaching."

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The "C" team went undefeated a year ago, and many of those girls also had plenty of success in middle school. Contini expects to have many of those same players stepping into a varsity role this season.

"The biggest thing about this program that I like so far is they are kind of young with me. We got a team that is pretty much going to be juniors and a lot of sophomores," Contini said. "Even though it may seem like a rebuilding year, we still want to go out and compete every night. We don't want anybody to look at us on the schedule and think that we are a rollover game."

Since making the state quarterfinals in the 2007-08 season, the BHS program hasn't seen much success. From the 2011-12 season through the 2015-16 season, the Longhorns only won a combined nine games. The team made some baby steps under Fitzpatrick, winning five games in each of her two seasons in charge.

Now, there is hope this year's young group can continue that climb.

"If this program is going to rise, the competition level at practice has to rise," Contini said. "And this is a group of girls I think is going to start to turn this program around. And a lot of the credit needs to be on them and way away from me when it happens."

Official practices get underway Monday. The Longhorns are scheduled to start their season Nov. 29 with a road tournament.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

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