Basalt boys basketball holds off Aspen 44-40 for non-league win, extends streak
This one took a little more work than the past six may have, but the Basalt High School boys basketball team’s dominance over its upvalley rival carries on.
Despite a 10-0 run by Aspen that straddled the final two quarters, the Longhorns were able to hold on for a 44-40 non-league win on Wednesday inside the AHS gymnasium, the seventh win in a row for Basalt in the series.
“This ‘L’ stings more than any of them, but it also gives them the biggest lesson. There is so much stuff they can take away from it,” said third-year AHS coach Alex Schrempf, who is now 0 for 5 against the Longhorns. “We are going to keep stepping forward. I can’t wait to see the contrast when we go down and play them again later.”
Basalt won handily in both games a year ago, winning 70-46 at home and 61-34 in Aspen. This time, the Skiers put forth a fight that even Schrempf said he hadn’t seen from his team the past two years, and it was a fight the Longhorns took notice of.
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“I could not be more proud of the effort my guys put forth. I know Alex’s guys also put that same effort forth,” said second-year BHS coach C.P. Martinez. “We haven’t been able to necessarily recover from mistakes. Seeing that maturation process in our younger guys and being able to then step up and make that next play is a big deal for where we are headed.”
For the most part, the game was physical and low-scoring. The teams finished the first quarter tied at 12 points apiece and it was Basalt with a slim 21-19 lead at halftime.
“For it to come down to the wire like that and have the whole crowd into it and have it really loud in the gym in a shootout — it’s really fun to come out on top,” Basalt senior Trevor Reuss said. “I think today every guy coming off the bench or starting really helped us to our win.”
The Longhorns had their big spurt midway through the third quarter when a 7-0 run pushed them ahead 34-25, the largest lead of the game for either team.
However, that 7-0 run by Basalt was followed by a 10-0 run by Aspen that carried into the fourth quarter. Trailing 34-33 to end the third quarter, Aspen’s Aidan Ledingham’s persistence in the paint led to a putback that gave the Skiers a 35-34 lead. The back-and-forth nature returned from there, when a Basalt 3-pointer with barely a minute to play put the Longhorns on top 40-38.
“All credit goes to C.P. and those Basalt boys. They really, really dialed in. They dialed in and they kept it simple,” Schrempf said. “It’s never one play. It’s never one shot. Down the stretch I think it was mostly fundamentals that we still got to improve on.”
A wild drive and lay in by Aspen’s Aidan Smagala tied it at 40 apiece with 8.5 seconds to play, but Basalt’s Jackson Rapaport answered back with a basket on the other end of the floor only a few seconds later that proved to be the game winner. Aspen had one final possession, but a bad inbound pass led to a steal and lay in by Basalt’s Jake Reardon at the buzzer.
“We definitely needed this one and it couldn’t be any sweeter,” said Martinez, whose team will host Rifle on Friday night. “I really thought our guys made some mistakes, but they then were able to recover from those.”
Basalt improved to 2-5 overall with the win, while Aspen fell to 2-3 overall. The Skiers, who lost by 16 to Rifle in their season opener, play at Vail Christian on Friday.
“It was fun. It’s still a massive step forward,” Schrempf said of the loss to Basalt. “It’s still just (about) learning.”
Aspen and Basalt will play once more in a league game in the regular-season finale on Feb. 14 in Basalt.
BASALT WRESTLING FALLS TO MOFFAT COUNTY
The Basalt High School wrestling team hosted Moffat County on Wednesday, falling 51-18. All of the Longhorns’ points came via forfeit, while the Bulldogs went 7-0 in contested matches. Basalt is next scheduled to compete Friday at West Grand.
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