Aspen basketball sweeps Basalt; first win for AHS girls
The Aspen Times
The wait is over.
The Aspen High School girls basketball team tasted victory for the very first time this season before a small but enthusiastic senior night crowd Saturday at the AHS gym.
The Skiers won their first game after 17 consecutive losses, beating downvalley rival Basalt 26-17 behind a record-setting performance by senior Mary Landis.
“This is incredible. There’s no better feeling,” Landis said as she celebrated with her teammates and head coach Rolf Schildman. “These girls are tough. They keep coming back, even though it’s hard … with the defeats.”
Landis, the Skiers’ leading scorer all season, wasn’t going to endure another loss. Not at home on senior night.
She scored a game-high 13 points — a number that was dwarfed by her season high of 18 rebounds in the Aspen victory.
“We all just keep pushing,” Landis said of the Skiers’ resilience in a frustrating season. “We pulled it together .. we played together truly for the very first time.”
For Landis, the game marked her second double-double in a week. She had scored 10 points with 13 rebounds against Roaring Fork.
Her basket from the free-throw line to open the fourth quarter Saturday broke a 15-15 tie in what had been a close game from the start. The score was tied nine times in the first three quarters with eight lead changes.
But Landis put the Skiers ahead for good after teammate Olivia Crawford pulled down one of her nine rebounds.
Anna Belinski scored for Aspen before Landis extended the Skiers’ lead to six points with another jumper.
A minute later, the indefatigable Landis gathered in another rebound and hit a putback for a stunning 23-17 lead for the Skiers with 3:13 to play.
Landis, the daughter of Mindy and Bill Landis, capped her evening with a putback on a missed Aspen free throw, drawing a loud ovation from the home crowd.
Crawford, along with her nine rebounds, also scored six points.
Senior Sadie Alpern, in her final regular-season game at home, added a basket and five rebounds as the Aspen girls improved to 1-17, 1-14 in the Western Slope League.
The Longhorns, whose lone victory of the season had come against the Skiers in Basalt two weeks ago, stayed close Saturday with an early 3-pointer from freshman Carsyn Knotts.
Cira Mylott nailed a 3-pointer from the left side of the key and hit a pair of free throws in the second quarter to help the visiting Longhorns tie Aspen 11-11 at halftime.
Knotts added two more baskets in the third quarter while McKenna Woodrow and Crawford scored for the Skiers.
Aspen, with an 11-point explosion in the fourth quarter, shut down Basalt, holding the Longhorns to a single basket from Savy Cheatham.
The Longhorns fell to 1-14 overall, 1-12 in conference. Knotts finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.
The Basalt girls will host Grand Valley on Tuesday before games next weekend at Olathe and at Gunnison.
The Aspen girls will play at Gunnison on Friday night to close the regular season.
Aspen boys roll
The Aspen High School boys basketball team, ranked No. 4 in Class 3A by coloradopreps.com, rolled past Basalt 66-29 on Saturday night.
Evan Patzoldt, with three 3-pointers, led Aspen (15-3, 14-1 in league) with 22 points. Trent Lichtenwalter, with two 3s, added 17 points.
Clayton Crawford had 12 points, 10 rebounds and an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Patzoldt.
Kris Kreuger led Basalt (1-15, 1-11 in league) with 11 points, including three 3-pointers. James Coombs added six for Basalt.
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Katelyn Maley was the first across the finish line on Saturday at the Norris-Penrose Event Center, winning the Class 3A girls state championship in 18 minutes, 39 seconds. She came in more than 34 seconds ahead of second place.