Basalt boys hoops knock off previously unbeaten Hotchkiss
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – The Hotchkiss boys basketball team is unbeaten no more, thanks to Basalt.
The Longhorns pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the season in front of the home crowd Friday night. Omar Lopez led the way with 31 points for Basalt, which came up big at the foul line down the stretch and pulled off a 74-65 win – its third in the last four games.
“They played their asses off, as hard as they could,” Longhorns head coach Jon Pettit said. “We took care of the basketball, rebounded and made some free throws at the end. … We just kept the pressure on them.”
Lopez hit 9 of 17 shots from inside the arc and 10 of 12 from the foul line. David Gruenefeldt pitched in with 13 and Blake Scherer and Jason Martellaro added 11 and 10, respectively. Basalt (3-7 overall, 2-6 3A Western Slope) shot 51 percent from the floor and missed just 3 of 19 free-throw attempts.
Hotchkiss, which led by one at halftime, hit 28 free throws but missed nine of 10 from behind the arc.
“The ball just bounced our way this time,” Pettit said. “The kids showed a lot of poise and a lot of heart.
“I’m happy, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I knew the kids could play with them.”
The Longhorns travel to Gunnison Saturday.
Basalt’s inconsistent play continued Friday against visiting Hotchkiss.
The Longhorns trailed by just one at the half, but unraveled in the third quarter and fell, 50-33 – their fifth straight loss after winning four straight from Dec. 11 to Jan. 8.
“We had real good intensity in the first half, and then in the third quarter we kind of got sucked back into our old ways,” Basalt head coach Dane LeBlanc said. “We didn’t have the same intensity. We weren’t getting some calls we thought we should have, and the girls got frustrated by that.”
Basalt (4-7, 4-5) will look to rebound at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Gunnison. The Longhorns outlasted the Cowboys, 55-48, on Dec. 11.
“It’s frustrating,” LeBlanc said of the current skid. “I know the girls have the talent to win these games. It’s just keeping composure for four quarters. That’s been pretty tough.”
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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.