Basalt boys charge into tourney semifinals
The Aspen Times
BASALT — The Longhorns are moving on to the semifinals.
The Basalt High School boys basketball team, with a strong second-half surge, defeated visiting Moffat County 63-42 on Tuesday night to advance to the semifinals of the Western Slope District Tournament, set for Friday at Grand Junction Central High School.
“It was a very exciting game,” Basalt head coach Danny Martinez said. “Basalt hasn’t hosted a game like this in a long, long time. We had a crowd, a good student section. There was a lot of energy here tonight.”
The energetic Longhorns started fast in the tournament opener against the Bulldogs, taking a 14-7 lead into the second quarter.
But Moffat County rebounded in the second quarter behind nine points from Dylan Kincade.
His acrobatic bank shot tied the game for Moffat County. And the Bulldogs went up 22-20 on a Brent Cook layup.
It took two free throws by Basalt’s Miles Levy to tie the game at 22-all at halftime.
“In the second half, we had more poise and we were more patient offensively,” Martinez said after the Longhorns broke out of the corral in the third quarter, going on a 16-4 run, eventually taking a 40-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Basalt defense limited the Bulldogs to only seven third-quarter points.
“Defense, again was key. And on offense, we executed,” Martinez said. “And we made the free throws.”
In the second quarter, in fact, the only Basalt points came from the free-throw line as the Longhorns converted 8-of-11 foul shots in the period.
Moffat County, battling foul problems all night, eventually lost two starters to fouls.
Keenan Hildebrandt, the Bulldog’s inside presence, fouled out with 1:01 to play in the third quarter.
Leading scorer Kincade fouled out with 4 minutes to play in the fourth.
The Longhorns, with Levy hitting 9-of-10, finished 25-of-35 from the foul line Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs shot only seven free throws, hitting two.
Kincade led Moffat County (7-13) with 14 points. Ben Robinson scored 10, including two 3-pointers.
Dusty Taylor added eight, also with a pair of treys.
Hildebrandt finished with six points. Cook added five.
Four Longhorns scored in double figures, led by 15 from Raul Torres and 14 from Mike Glen.
Wade Soho and Levy scored 11 points each.
Pablo Rivera added seven points, including a 3-pointer. Kyle Roberts also hit a 3 for the Longhorns, who improved to 16-4.
“Wade’s defense really helped us,” Martinez said. “He had some big blocks and … he hit those free throws.”
Soho was 5-of-6 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
“Raul played awesome. Mike showed up there for us … I’m really proud of them,” Martinez said.
The Basalt boys will play Grand Valley at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Grand Junction Central High School in the semifinals of the district tourney.
Grand Valley (17-3) eliminated Aspen 74-64 on Tuesday night in Parachute.
No. 1 Coal Ridge will take on Roaring Fork in the other tournament semifinal at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Central.
Roaring Fork (9-11) defeated Gunnison 52-49 on Tuesday in Carbondale.
Coal Ridge (14-6) ousted winless Olathe 84-48.
The top four teams from the district tournament advance to the Class 3A Regionals, so the Basalt boys will be moving on after this weekend. The district tournament will decide the 1-4 seedings from the league for the regional playoffs.
In girls basketball, the Basalt Longhorns closed the season with a 61-20 loss at Olathe on Tuesday night in the first round of the district tournament.
The Basalt girls ended the year 3-17.
Olathe improved to 16-4.
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A lot of seemingly random things are in short supply these days — including sports officials. Western Slope sporting events are not far from a scenario where referees are absent as the area is in desperate need of officials.