Basalt boys win over Vail Christian
With only six scheduled home games all season for the Basalt High School boys basketball team, taking advantage of those rare games on its home court is extra important.
In their home opener Saturday against Vail Christian, the Longhorns did more than that — they put on a show.
“There was a lot of energy from our student section today, so we were pretty happy about that,” Basalt senior Michael Glen said. “It’s big. We want to make sure we do our best at home and really make sure we put games away.”
After a sluggish start, Basalt was able to make easy work of the Saints, rolling to a 73-29 victory. It was a fourth straight win for the now 4-1 Longhorns after a season-opening loss to Del Norte.
“They put it behind the next day,” BHS coach Danny Martinez said of the loss. “We came out flat in the first two quarters (against Vail Christian), but after halftime we came and got more energy under us and extended our lead. So it just got better for us.”
Basalt never trailed against the Saints, but struggled to pull away early and led by only five points after a quarter. But after a dominant second quarter, which included 13 points from Glen alone, the lead had blossomed to 34-15 by halftime.
“It wasn’t a me thing, it was a we thing. Just as we started slowing things down and moving the ball a lot, we just got easy shots. It was pretty easy for us to get up,” Basalt junior guard Justin Henderson said. “Communication is a very big thing. It was pretty slow in the beginning, and then we just started talking and switching.”
Vail Christian (0-4) never threatened in the second half. Turnovers led to easy points for the Longhorns and a 30-point cushion by the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter highlights included a pair of dunks by Glen, including an alley-oop slam via Henderson.
Glen finished the game with 29 points, putting him only 31 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career.
Basalt has two games remaining before it goes on winter break, both coming at a tournament hosted by Montezuma-Cortez on Friday and Saturday.
“Our coach told us this year the road was going to be our home, and we kind of have to accept that this year,” Glen said.
The next home game for the Longhorns will be their first game back from break, a Jan. 10 matchup with valley rival Roaring Fork.
Basalt girls falter late
Eventually, the pressure finally wore down the young Longhorn girls Saturday against Vail Christian.
Missing a couple of key starters, the Basalt High School girls basketball team fell 45-19 to the Saints in their home opener.
“We had a pretty young team in for most of it. We had a lot freshmen,” BHS coach Kat Fitzpatrick said. “It’s really the first time they’ve seen pressure in situations like that, so it was just a little bit of confidence and having those young players in was a little frustrating.”
The Longhorns held their own early. The Saints led 8-6 after a quarter, a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Basalt freshman Riley Webb cut into the deficit. By halftime, Vail Christian’s lead was 18-12.
Basalt still was within striking distance, trailing 28-18 after three quarters, when the offense stalled. The Saints used a 23-0 run that straddled the final two quarters to pull away.
The Longhorns were outscored 17-1 in the fourth quarter.
“They worked really hard, and that’s fine, but we have to play all four quarters,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m confident they are going to come back. They learned a lot. They were pretty fired up in the locker room. They didn’t want to lose that game.”
Junior Cintia Miramontes led the Longhorns with nine points.
The Basalt girls (1-4 overall) will wrap up the first part of their season with a tournament next weekend in Basalt.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.