Basalt girls one win from district crown
PALISADE, Colo. The Basalt girls clinched a third straight trip to the district tournament championship game Friday. Now, they’ll try to pick up a second consecutive title.Friday, in their biggest game of the season to date, the top-seeded Longhorns produced their highest point total of the season against fifth-seeded Coal Ridge at Palisade High School. They jumped out to a 19-point halftime lead and, on the strength of stellar defense and balanced offense – four players scored 15 or more points – topped the Titans, 73-49. Basalt will square off in Saturday’s district championship at 4 p.m. against unlikely foe Olathe. The Sixth-seeded Pirates outlasted No. 2 Hotchkiss, 47-46, earlier Friday.”We got back to our roots, and we played fairly up-tempo,” Longhorns coach Carolyn Compton said. “That’s exactly what we need to be doing.”Basalt (18-3) further strengthened its case to host a four-team regional next weekend regardless of today’s outcome by jumping out in front by nine points after one quarter. In the next eight minutes, in a scene reminiscent of Tuesday’s district opener against Aspen, the Longhorns increased their defensive pressure (they forced more than 20 turnovers), overwhelmed Coal Ridge on the offensive end and built a 38-17 halftime lead.Guard Emily Peetz scored a game-high 20 points. She was hardly alone, as fellow seniors Dayne Toney and Kat Fitzpatrick chipped in with 16 and 15, respectively. After struggling to find her shot in the first half, reserve Melissa Stewart found her stride in the second and finished with 15.The Titans outscored Basalt, 15-13, in the third quarter, but struggled to gain any traction or seriously threaten the Longhorns’ advantage.”We are [playing our best basketball of the year,] but I still see some things we can do better,” Compton said. “I really am waiting to get a little more from Dayne. Right now she’s playing average, and we all know she’s above average. She’ll kick it in at the right time, and it will make a difference and give us another step up. “We’re where we need to be right now. If we grow and mature a little each game, I’ll be totally satisfied.”Next up is 9-11 Olathe, which surprised Basalt with a 57-52 victory Feb. 15. The loss was the first of two in the regular season’s final four games for the Longhorns, who were struggling with both illness and injury to many key contributors at the time.They’ve since won three straight, all by 24 or more points. Compton said the Pirates will see a different Longhorns team in Saturday’s title tilt.”[On Feb. 15,] we got down right away and got out of sync. They came out shooting the lights out and caught us off guard,” Compton said. “The girls will do their best to refuse to lose twice.”A win would guarantee that Basalt hosts a four-team regional for a second straight year. The Longhorns swept their way through regionals in 2007, then made it all the way to the state championship game before falling to Machebeuf. “I think stat-wise, we’re in good position [to host next weekend]. We deserve it even if we took second just for the ranking we held all year,” Compton said. “You never know what will happen, so we have to go out and win it and have no question.”firstname.lastname@example.org
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