Basalt boys drop pair in opening act
Aspen Times Staff Writer
On Friday Basalt couldn’t put two halfs together, on Saturday the Longhorns boys basketball team couldn’t get its buzzer-beating 3-pointer to fall.
Opening the 2002-03 season with a two-game home stand at the BHS Bighouse, Basalt dropped two disappointing games to nonleague opponents: 67-50 to Kent Denver Friday, 65-62 to Moffat County Saturday.
“We rose to the occasion, but we didn’t seem to get the breaks,” said BHS coach Mike Green.
On Friday, Basalt set the tone against Kent Denver in the first half, dictating play and taking a 31-24 lead at halftime. In the second half, however, Kent Denver rallied back, stretching a 5 point lead at the end of the third quarter to 17 by the end.
“Kent’s a good ball club, but we played extremely well. We just couldn’t put two halfs together,” the coach said. “We didn’t control our emotions in the second half, but we also had some bad bounces, and then turnovers that created baskets for them. And once the momentum went their way, we couldn’t get it back.”
Dillon Johnson led the Longhorns with 13 points, followed by Ryan Thompson with 12 and Danny Popish with 6.
On Saturday vs. Moffat County, the Longhorns kept within striking distance the entire game. Trailing by 6 at halftime, 40-34, Basalt cut the deficit to 1 before the fourth quarter, 50-49, and remained in the hunt down the stretch.
At the buzzer, Basalt’s game-tying 3-pointer to fall came up short, Green said.
“We got into foul trouble early on, with three starters with three fouls in the first half, but we had some young kids step up and play well, and that’s going to benefit us later,” he said.
“Defensively, we did a great job, but again, we didn’t seem to get the breaks ? funny bounces going their way, calls not going our way, that kinda thing. But those things even out over time. We’ve got no reason to panic ? we’re looking pretty good.”
Thompson had 15 points for Basalt, followed by Popish with 14 and Kyle Kappeli with 13.
On Tuesday, Basalt travels to face Rifle at 7:30 p.m. Last season, in another nonleague game vs. Rifle, Basalt lost by four points.
“Hopefully we’ll come up with the same defensive effort to give ourselves a chance to win the ball game,” Green said.
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.