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Basalt girls no match for Slope’s top team

Jon Maletz
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times
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Basalt’s hopes for an upset of league-leading Cedaredge were lost in little more than two minutes.During the first two minutes of the second quarter in Saturday’s regular season finale, The Bruins turned four Longhorns turnovers into eight points and turned a lead of four into 12. From there, Cedaredge used its experience – all eight players on the varsity roster are seniors – to slowly pull away. And, in a battle between the 3A Western Slope’s top two teams, the Bruins remained undefeated with a convincing 64-49 win.

The loss snapped an 11-game winning streak for Basalt (15-4 overall, 12-2 conference), who were held to 12 points below their season scoring average. The Longhorns’ last loss came Jan. 6 in Cedaredge.”For some reason, we seem to have a mental block against them,” Basalt coach Carolyn Compton said. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers. At this point in the season, those should all be bye-bye.”Cedaredge opened the second on an 8-0 run to take command of the game. Carrie Berger took the entry pass, turned her shoulders and finished off the glass, then Katie Eason turned a Basalt turnover into two points with a layup. Shorty Ramos hit two free throws with 6:26 to play, then Lexi Galvin drove all the way to the basket, forcing the Longhorns to call a timeout.”We didn’t come out and play like we usually do,” Meyer said. “We’re disappointed we lost, but we know what we need to do to improve.”Basalt, which trailed by just four after one, did not score during the first four minutes of the second quarter. Senior Cassie Meyer broke the cold spell when she hit a jumper from 10 feet. Seconds later, Meyer nabbed an offensive board on teammate Katy Mulcahy’s missed free throw and banked in a shot to cut the Bruins lead to 28-18. Meyer scored eight of Basalt’s 10 points in the quarter and had 16 points in the first half. She finished with 21.

Following the timeout, Mulcahy picked off a pass and scored in transition to spark a 4-0 Basalt run that trimmed the deficit to nine. The Bruins responded, closing on a 5-2 run during the half’s final two minutes to take a 36-24 lead into the break.The Longhorns matched buckets with Cedaredge for much of the second. The Bruins spread the floor on offense, which opened up passing lanes and yielded a host of high-percentage shots. They led by 13 after three quarters, and never let up.Basalt pulled to within 10 a minute and half into the fourth when Mulcahy pulled down an offensive rebound and finished off the glass, then buried a three from the wing on consecutive possessions. The Bruins were 8-of-10 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes to seal the win and clinch an undefeated 18-0 season.Both teams could be destined for a rematch in next week’s district tournament.”If these girls want to reach their goals, they have to be tougher mentally,” Compton said. “They’re as good as gold, they just all have to realize on the same night.”

The Longhorns led Cedaredge by 11 after three quarters and looked poised to end its regular season on a high note.It didn’t take long for things to unravel. The Bruins hit a host of important shots to seize the momentum. Cedaredge junior Payden Cerise hit a 3-pointer from the wing with 16 seconds to play. And, after teammate Bo Baker extended the lead to two with one free throw, Basalt could not get a shot off before the buzzer, and lost, 59-57.”The guys need to understand the situations and the time on the clock,” Longhorns coach Michael Green said. “Their kids stepped up and hit some big shots.”Longhorns senior Rory Johnson opened the fourth by hitting one of two from the line to give Basalt the 12-point lead, and it looked as though Basalt would continue to coast like it had for much of the three previous quarters. Cedaredge ended that notion when they strung together a 9-2 run in the next three minutes. Baker hit a three following two Duncan McDaniel free throws to cut the lead to four.

Bruins guard Tyler Straman hit a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to three with less than five minutes remaining. They pulled to within one at 45-44 when, after Ryan Marah went up strong and missed, and Bowie Murphy finished the put-back. Murphy drained a long 3-pointer with two minutes to play to give Cedaredge the 53-52 lead – its first since Baker hit a three on the game’s first possession. With 26 minutes to play, McDaniel gave Basalt a two-point cushion when he made one of two from the line. Cerise answered right back, however, when his three rattled home to give Cedaredge the slim 58-57 advantage.McDaniel took the ball on the ensuing possession and immediately drove into the lane and fired a runner from close range; it came up short and Baker corralled the rebound. Baker hit his first free throw to give the Bruins a two-point lead with 5.5 seconds to play. When he missed the second, Basalt’s Taylor Foreman-Niko grabbed the rebound and threw an outlet pass to junior Connor Rakowski. A host of Bruins defenders pressured Rakowski shortly after he crossed halfcourt, and the Longhorns could not get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.The Longhorns, which led by four after one quarter and closed on a 11-2 run in the second quarter to take an 11-point halftime edge, were stunned.”At one point in the third, we had a chance to go up 17, but instead it went back to 11,” Green said. “We just didn’t control the ball or the game. The kids are pretty down. This is one we let get away.”


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