Aspen girls advance out of pigtail round
The Aspen Times
The Aspen Skiers live to play another day.
The Aspen High School girls basketball team, playing in the pigtail round of the Western Slope District Tournament, scrambled past rival Basalt in a 28-27 thriller Monday night at the AHS gym.
In the third and deciding matchup between the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in the league, the Aspen girls defeated the Longhorns for the second time in 10 days.
The victory earns the Skiers, 2-17 overall, a trip to Grand Valley today to take on the No. 1 seed Cardinals (15-4) in the quarterfinals of the District Tournament.
Like the previous two meetings, Monday night’s game was close, close, close until the Skiers opened the fourth quarter with a stunning 10-2 run to extend a two-point lead to 28-18 with 3:42 to play in the game.
Sophomore McKenna Woodrow started the Aspen surge with four consecutive baskets for the Skiers, including a driving layup and a putback on back-to-back possessions.
She scored again off a pass from fellow sophomore Jessica Furr.
Aspen senior Mary Landis added the final basket on a putback of a teammate’s missed free throw, giving the modest home crowd a 10-point lead.
But the Skiers would not score over the final 3:42 while the Longhorns chipped into the lead with a basket from Berta Rivera, a free throw from Aimee Machuca and four consecutive foul shots from freshman Carsyn Knotts.
Knotts’ final free throw cut Aspen’s lead to 28-25 with 41 seconds left.
After a missed Aspen free throw, Machuca scored on the inside to pull Basalt within 28-27 with 14 seconds left.
The Skiers managed to corral the rebound after a missed foul shot with :09 on the clock to preserve their second consecutive home win. They had defeatd the Basalt girls 26-17 on Feb. 15.
Landis led the Skiers in scoring with 13 points and seven rebounds in her final home game.
Woodrow finished with eight points and nine rebounds in the Aspen girls’ victory.
Olivia Crawford pulled down eight rebounds to go with seven points.
Carsyn led Basalt with nine points and five rebounds. She was 5 of 7 from the foul line.
Machuca added five points for the Longhorns. Cira Mylott and teammate Kaity Johnson added four points each for the Basalt girls, 1-17.
The Skiers picked up their second win in spite of shooting only 4 of 12 from the free-throw line.
Basalt converted 8 of 20 foul shots.
The Aspen girls now will take on league champion Grand Valley (15-4 overall).
The Cardinals, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A by coloradopreps.com, won the league with a 14-2 record.
In other District Tournament quarterfinals today for the girls, Roaring Fork (4-15 overall) will play at Olathe (15-4), Gunnison (7-12) will be at Cedaredge (14-5), and Coal Ridge (12-7) will play at Moffat County (13-6) in Craig.
The tournament semifinals and finals will be Friday and Saturday at Palisade High School, along with the consolation brackets to determine third, fourth, fifth and sixth places.
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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.