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.
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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.
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