Basalt basketball teams can’t hang with Coal Ridge in Western Slope openers
The Basalt High School basketball teams opened 3A Western Slope League play Tuesday, with both squads falling well short of visiting Coal Ridge inside the BHS gymnasium. For the boys, there was plenty of good early but the inexperience cost them late. The girls struggled from the start, a disappointing step back after playing one of their best games in recent memory only last week.
CR BOYS 84, BHS 48
Playing for the first time since Dec. 20 and with a slightly altered roster of younger athletes, the Longhorn boys came out swinging against the Titans. BHS led in the early moments of the game but had fallen behind 41-26 by halftime.
“We played a good first half,” first-year Basalt coach Clint Hunter told The Aspen Times. “They did a really nice job. I was really, really proud of them. They had an opportunity and I thought they took full advantage of it. Your first varsity experience is always nerve-wracking.”
Basalt hung tough well into the third quarter but a big run by Coal Ridge over the final few minutes led to the decisive final margin. Coal Ridge standout Austin Gerber led all players with 26 points, well above his already impressive 17.7 points per game the senior averaged coming in.
The Titans improved to 7-3 overall and 1-0 in WSL play. Coal Ridge has won five straight games.
“They are a very good program,” Hunter said of the team from New Castle. “It’s exciting to know that we’ll get there soon. Our guys are working hard and I’m excited for the progress we’ll continue to make.”
Sophomore Wish Moore led BHS with 14 points, while senior Brian Granados added 12 points. Basalt fell to 1-7 overall and 0-1 in WSL play. The Longhorns next head to Delta (3-5, 1-0) on Saturday.
CR GIRLS 63, BHS 30
Last week, the Basalt girls won 68-40 over Battle Mountain, their best offensive performance since scoring 72 points back in December 2016. That same firepower was nowhere to be seen, at least early, against the Titans on Tuesday.
Coal Ridge jumped out to a 20-0 lead, a bucket by Basalt’s Zoe Vozick in the final seconds of the first quarter finally getting the home team on the scoreboard. The BHS offense got things going some in the second quarter, but the Titans still took a commanding 36-13 lead into the half.
“Maybe a little too much confidence after that win against Battle Mountain and now we just have to regroup,” second-year BHS coach Amy Contini told radio announcer Jim Williams after the game. “Sometimes all you have to do is just kind of laugh one off. Obviously we played probably the most horrendous first quarter of basketball I’ve ever seen us play, which is quite the opposite of what we played against Battle Mountain.”
Coal Ridge only outscored Basalt 27-17 in the second half, but the damage had already been done by then. The Titans were led by 17 points from senior Lyanna Nevarez, who came in only averaging 7.6 points per game in eight contests.
The Titans improved to 6-4 overall and 1-0 in WSL play.
Basalt fell to 3-3 overall and 0-1 in WSL play. No Longhorn reached double figures in scoring against Coal Ridge.
With a trip to Delta (5-3) coming Saturday, Contini is hoping for a bit more consistency from her players.
“It’s not doing it when you want to do it, it’s doing it when you need to do it, and we needed this win tonight,” Contini told Williams. “And the girls have to learn that lesson. And they will. We’ll bounce back for Delta. Hopefully we’ll have a better outing against Delta.”
As a team, Aspen finished third overall in its lone home tournament of the fall. The Skiers shot a collective 239, finishing 12 back of fellow 3A powerhouse Colorado Academy (227). Steamboat Springs, out of 4A, shot 225 to take the win.
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