Basalt clinches league crown |

Basalt clinches league crown

Basalt's Felipe Sanchez looks to pounce as Vail Mountain goalkeeper Michael Busenhart tries to get a handle on the ball during the second half in Basalt Thursday. The Longhorns won 6-0 to clinch a fourth-straight league championship. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

All the usual suspects struck as Basalt crushed Vail Mountain 6-nil to snatch a fourth-consecutive Class 3A Western Slope League title Thursday afternoon at the BHS field.In running up the 6-0 margin in the first half alone, the slippery sophomore Ryan Zubizaretta scored two goals and had an assist, numbers matched by the slashing, fleeted-footed Felipe Sanchez. Brett Boyle and Trevor Brown chipped in goals, Cy Eaton and Luke Caudill had assists, and Jamie Wirkler got the shutout in net.In addition to serving as the league clincher, the victory avenged Basalt’s only tie of the season (0-0 on Sept. 25 on the artificial turf at Vail Mountain).”The whole time I’ve been in high school we’ve won it – it’s awesome,” Basalt senior co-captain and sweeper Brett Guglielmo said. “We showed we can come out against a good team and score. And we needed that.”The Longhorn bench emptied in the second half, and on two occasions near the Vail Mountain net Sanchez dished off to try and set teammates up with goals instead of ripping a shot himself. Basalt coach Erik Streff praised Sanchez – one of the top five scorers in the state with 17 goals and 13 assists (behind Eaton with 17 goals, 15 assists) – for the unselfish play.

“It’s not a one-man team,” Streff said. “It’s a team. And we’re trying to accomplish one goal, together.”The guys knew how important it was, and they came out strong in order to get the league title and hopefully a top playoff spot.” With two games left to play in the regular season, Basalt, the No. 2-ranked team in Colorado’s Class 3A, according to both Denver newspapers, improved to 8-0-1 in league play and 11-1-1 overall. Vail Mountain, which has clinched the No. 2 position in the league behind Basalt and a playoff berth, dropped to 5-1-3 in league.Basalt’s only loss this season dates back to their Sept. 3 opener at Faith Christian, the defending Class 3A state champ and the only team ranked above Basalt.Vail Mountain goalie Michael Busenhart was peppered all game. And to his credit, defensive lapses left him exposed on several occasions.Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni put it this way: “In concert, that was about as many mistakes as we could make. It was a mess, mistake after mistake. These are the times that try men’s souls.

“At the same time, we know and we understand that we’re playing a very good team. And we were really looking forward to coming here and playing a team that we have great respect for. So we’re more disappointed with the lackluster event than the result.”Basalt hosts Middle Park in a non-league match on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Longhorns conclude their regular-season schedule at home against Aspen on Tuesday at 4 p.m.”We’re focusing a lot on scoring in practice,” said Guglielmo. “And I think we’re all ready to get states started.”Aspen 3, CRMS 0Aspen kept its playoff hopes alive with a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) Thursday afternoon in Aspen.

With two games left to play, Aspen improved to 2-5-1 in 3A WSL play. CRMS, also on the playoff bubble for the third and final spot from the league to playoffs, dropped to 3-6.Aspen’s Gabriel Grisolia, Tyler Moore and Hardee Anderson scored goals, all in the first half. Stephen Buzbee had two assists and Fred Bernard recorded the shutout in goal.”They played really well – some nice one-touch soccer,” said Aspen coach Grant “Junior” Sutherland. “Nicky Anastas and Ryder Fyrwald were outstanding in the midfield, and Ryan Chaloupka had an outstanding game at back. And they played together as a team today, so it’s encouraging.”In the first half, CRMS’ Chris Schumacher sustained a broken wrist, according to Sutherland.”It was unfortunate,” said Sutherland. “He’s one of their best players.”Aspen travels to face Vail Mountain on Saturday. The Skiers wrap up the regular season at Basalt on Tuesday.

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