Basalt boys down Gunnison in district hoops opener
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
GUNNISON, Colo. – Blake Scherer scored 19 points and Omar Lopez added nine and 14 rebounds to lead sixth-seeded Basalt over No. 3 Gunnison, 47-41, on Wednesday.
With the win, the Longhorns, who have won four of their last five and are now 9-11, locked up a regional berth. They will take on second-seeded Hotchkiss at 4:45 p.m. in Friday’s district semifinals at Palisade High School. The Bulldogs advanced with a 13-point win over Olathe.
“We got out of there with a victory, so we’ll take it,” Basalt head coach Jon Pettit said. “We’re getting healthy and all the team issues are behind us. We’re starting to play pretty well, and hopefully it will carry over.
“This is a great step for the program. The kids are excited, I’m excited.”
The Longhorns, who led by two at halftime, stretched their lead with a 6-0 run in the opening minutes of the third quarter. They maintained that advantage down the stretch with timely free-throw shooting and strong defense to secure their second win in three tries against the Cowboys this season.
Friday’s rubber match between Basalt and Hotchkiss shapes up to be a thriller. The Longhorns handed the then-unbeaten Bulldogs a 74-65 loss Jan. 22. Hotchkiss returned the favor in Saturday’s regular-season finale, squeaking out a 47-42 home win.
“We know each other well. They know what we’re going to do, and we know what they’re going to do,” Pettit said. “Whoever puts the ball in the hole the most times is going to be playing on Saturday.
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Basalt went 11-5 in the shortened regular season and finished a mere fourth in the Class 3A Western Slope League behind Moffat County, Gunnison and Delta. Then the Longhorns were the No. 21 seed in regional play that only includes 24 teams, but still shook up the bracket with a pair of big upsets.