Basalt girls off and running against Aspen |

Basalt girls off and running against Aspen

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Aspen Times

ASPEN ” Aspen head coach Jeremy Haack thought his team could successfully press rival Basalt.

He was mistaken.

The Longhorns shook off their first-half struggles, scoring 12 points in transition during a third quarter in which they outscored the Skiers, 23-7. Senior guard Melissa Stewart led the way with 17 points ” 14 in the second half ” as Basalt rolled to a 49-25 win, its second straight after a 2-5 start.

“I think we just played tight,” Haack said. “The girls knew this was a really big game, and they were tense out there.”

Both teams looked tense during a first quarter in which just 10 total points were scored. Things picked up early in the second when Longhorns junior Katelyn Timroth scored on the offensive glass to spark a 6-2 run, stretching Basalt’s lead to 12-6. While the Longhorns’ defense repeatedly hounded Aspen ballhandlers with tight man-to-man pressure, Mackenzie Buck extended the lead with an acrobatic hook shot in the lane. Heather Nemiec picked off a pass and scored in transition in the final minute to give the Longhorns a 17-7 advantage heading into the break.

The Skiers (3-7 overall, 1-6 3A Western Slope) didn’t help themselves in the first 16 minutes, missing eight of nine from the free throw line.

Basalt built on its momentum in the early stages of the second half, scoring seven straight points in the first minute of the third. Stewart capped the run with a long 3 from the top of the key.

The Longhorns were off and running. Stewart knifed her way through the Aspen press and scored in the paint, then, after a Buck jumper, hit a 10-footer to stretch the lead to 22 with 3:30 to play. After Skiers guard Rebecca Dolores scored underneath, Ashley Soucie and Nicole Booth both finished in transition off feeds from Stewart. Buck finished with 13 points and Soucie added nine.

“We told them to settle down and play the way they know how to play,” Basalt assistant coach Dan Scherer said. “It was a good effort, and I’m really pleased with how they played.”

The Longhorns built a 40-14 lead heading into the fourth. Aspen, which turned the ball over 34 times, could do little to close the gap.

Lindsey Anderson finished with nine and Kylie Westerlind added six for the Skiers.

“They ran a pretty aggressive [defense], and it was difficult for us to find open spots and shots,” Haack said. “The girls are obviously upset. They know they’re a better team than this.”

Basalt hosts Coal Ridge at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The Skiers next take the court Friday night against Cedaredge.

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