Basalt boys basketball beats Roaring Fork, advances to district title game
Basalt High School senior Pablo Rivera picked a good time to score his only points of the game. With time running short in Friday’s district semifinal game against Roaring Fork — a game played at Grand Junction Central High School — Rivera hit a pair of important free throws to allow the Longhorns to escape with the 49-42 victory.
“They were crucial free throws at that moment,” Basalt boys basketball coach Danny Martinez said. “He delivered, so it was good.”
The win sends Basalt (19-2 overall) into Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. district championship game against Coal Ridge, which beat Delta 70-47 in the other semifinal game Friday. According to Martinez, this will be the first time the Longhorn boys have played in a district title game since 1999.
Coal Ridge, the 3A Western Slope League champion, was the only team to defeat Basalt in WSL action this season.
The win also secures BHS a spot in next week’s regional tournament.
“It feels good to be going into a regional game again,” Martinez said. “But we want to host one at home so we got a lot of work still to be done (Saturday).”
With a win Saturday, Basalt would be in a good position to host a regional game Friday.
To reach the district final, the Longhorns had to outwit a scrappy Roaring Fork team that also took them to the wire the last time they played, a 60-59 BHS win Feb. 3 in Carbondale.
Tied at 14 after a quarter Friday, BHS’s defense tightened up in the second quarter and the Longhorns took a 21-16 lead into the locker room.
Basalt’s lead was 30-28 going into the fourth quarter, and a series of bad plays eventually led to the Rams taking a 39-38 lead late in the period. Then junior guard Justin Henderson hit a key 3-pointer with about three minutes to play, giving BHS the lead back.
“Four possessions in a row we turned the ball over and couldn’t execute,” Martinez said. “But hey, the boys are mentally tough, so we came out with the win.”
With less than a minute to play, Rivera’s two free throws pushed Basalt’s lead from two to 43-39, and moments later Henderson’s steal and layup all but ended the game. Henderson and senior Michael Glen combined to go 4-for-4 from the foul line to round out the scoring over the final seconds.
Glen led the team with 19 points, while Henderson had 14.
The Basalt High School football team only needed one half to put away visiting Grand Valley on Friday night, winning 42-6 in the league opener on a wet BHS field. It was also homecoming for the Longhorns.