Basalt boys basketball eager for regional test | AspenTimes.com

Basalt boys basketball eager for regional test

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Basalt's Pedro Rivera goes up for a jumper during the Western Slope District Tournament last weekend.

The Basalt High School basketball team is eager to make its regional playoff debut Friday night.

The Longhorns, seeded No. 17 in the 32-team Class 3A state playoffs, will take on No. 16 seed Pagosa Springs at 7 p.m. Friday at Denver Science and Technology-Stapleton in Denver.

"The boys are really excited, ready to play," said Basalt head coach Danny Martinez, who played on previous Basalt teams that qualified for the regionals.

"It's been a long time since Basalt's been there. We're looking forward to the experience," said Martinez, an assistant coach in the Basalt system in 2006.

The Longhorns (17-5) advanced to regionals with a third-place finish in last week's Western Slope District Tournament.

A solid performance in a loss to Grand Valley was followed by a 43-25 win over Roaring Fork to secure the third playoff bid from the conference.

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"We know we've got to win the battle of the boards," Martinez said of the importance of sound rebounding in Friday's game against Pagosa Springs. "We can't be nervous. We have to play. And we have to D-up."

Their defense will drive their offense, Martinez said.

Pagosa Springs enters with a 13-8 overall record, including an assortment of losses to Class 4A teams and state-ranked Class 2A squads.

Those losses came to 2A powers Ignacio and Sanford as well as Class 4A playoff team Durango.

Three of the Pagosa Springs' losses came to Intermountain League champion Alamosa, which will host one of eight Class 3A regionals this weekend.

The Pirates have played a couple common opponents with the Longhorns.

Pagosa Springs beat Gunnison by 18 points; Basalt beat Gunnison by 20 points and 27 points in two games.

Pagosa Springs lost to Grand Valley by seven points; Basalt lost to Grand Valley by 10 points last weekend.

Coached by Randy Sorenson, in his sixth season as the Pirates' head coach, Pagosa Springs has relied on two primary scorers this season.

Briar Erskine, a 6-3 senior, leads the Pirates at 16.3 points per game. He also averages 7.7 rebounds per game.

Isaiah Griego scores 12.1 points per game with more than five rebounds per game. He's a 6-2 sophomore.

Ty Kimsey, a 5-10 sophomore, leads Pagosa Springs in assists at 4.2 per game.

The Longhorns will counter with 6-5 junior Mike Glen, who is averaging 18 points per game along with 7.9 rebounds per game.

Raul Torres also averages double figures for the Longhorns. He's at 10.0 per game. He also averages more than five rebounds per game.

Pedro Rivera, a 5-10 junior, averages seven points a game for Basalt's boys.

"We have to execute right away; we can't be nervous," Martinez said. "We don't know a lot about them, but they don't know a lot about us either."

Denver Science and Tech-Stapleton (21-1) is the overall No. 1 seed in Class 3A boys basketball. Denver Science and Tech-Stapleton will take on another team from the Western Slope League — No. 32 seed Roaring Fork (9-13) at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Basalt will face Pagosa Springs in the 7 p.m. game Friday.

The winners of the first-round games will play at 1 p.m. Saturday at Denver Science and Tech-Stapleton for the regional title and a berth in the Great 8 the following week at the Denver Coliseum.

The overall No. 2 seed in Class 3A is Lutheran (18-4), facing No. 31 Sheridan (10-13) on Friday. No. 15 Platte Valley (13-9) will take on No. 18 James Irwin of Colorado Springs (15-6) in the Lutheran regional.

No. 3 seed Manitou Springs (20-2) will host, taking on No. 30 Kent Denver (10-12) in the first round. No. 14 Coal Ridge (15-7) from the Western Slope League will play No. 19 Buena Vista (13-10) in Manitou.

Sterling (18-4) is the No. 4 seed, set to take on No. 29 Lamar (12-11) in the opening regional game. No. 13 Colorado Academy (14-8) will play No. 20 The Academy (13-10), also at Sterling.

No. 5 Eaton (19-3) will host No. 28 Bennett (15-7); No. 12 The Pinnacle (17-5) will play No. 21 Manuel ( 11-11) in the Eaton regional.

The No. 6 seed is Faith Christian (17-5). Ridge View Academy, No. 27 at 16-6, will take on Faith Christian on Friday. No. 11 Colorado Springs Christian (17-5) will play No. 22 Bayfield (11-10) in the Faith regional.

Grand Valley (19-3) from the Western Slope League earned the No. 7 overall seed after beating Coal Ridge 73-54 in the district final last weekend.

The Cardinals will host No. 26 Frontier Academy (14-8) at 5 p.m. Friday.

No. 10 St. Mary's (13-9) will play No. 23 Middle Park (12-10) in Parachute at 7 p.m. Friday.

Alamosa (17-4) is the No. 8 and final regional host in 3A. Alamosa (17-4) will face Liberty Common of Fort Collins (15-7) in a first-round game.

Denver Science and Tech-Green Valley Ranch (GVR) at 20-0 will face Trinidad (13-10), No. 24, in the other game at Alamosa.

dstrode@aspentimes.com