Basalt girls upset depleted Aspen
After losing to the Aspen High girls basketball team twice during the regular season, Basalt got revenge by knocking off the Skiers in Aspen in the opening round of the district tournament last night.
The Lady Longhorns won 48-33, and advanced to the final four of the Class 3A Western Slope League district tourney, slated to open Friday in Palisade. Basalt was seeded fifth in districts, Aspen was fourth.
“It was a total team effort, it wasn’t just one person,” said Basalt coach Terry Kappeli.
But Deanna Spracher, a senior, was clearly a leader, scoring a game high 16 points. Fellow senior Kelsea Mulcahy followed with nine points.
The game was tight through the first half, with the Lady Longhorns up 16-15 at the break. But Basalt ruled the second half, and led 31-24 at the end of the third quarter.
Kappeli said he didn’t prepare his team any differently or surprise Aspen with anything they hadn’t already seen. “We forced quite a few turnovers and it felt like we were a little quicker,” he said.
Kappeli said the greatest difference between Tuesday night’s game and the two rivals’ previous two meetings was that Aspen was beat up and without some key players.
Carly Rosen started at guard for the Skiers before leaving recently for an educational program. And Corie Thompson, Aspen’s most physical player in the interior, was in a car accident Monday night. Thompson played Tuesday night, though her role was limited and she was visibly in pain, wearing a neck brace during much of the game.
“That was the difference,” said Aspen’s head coach Dave Conarroe.
Whether it was Thompson’s injury or nerves among the team, Aspen just didn’t look like the team that beat Basalt by a combined 21 points in the regular season.
The Lady Longhorns played tight man-defense, forcing numerous turnovers and fouls. But the Skiers were terrible from the line.
“We didn’t make any free throws,” Conarroe said.
Aspen’s lone senior and team leader Liz Floyd went out on a high note, recording a team high 13 points. Brittany Fortier, a junior, followed with 10 points.
Given Aspen’s youth, the future looks bright.
“I like our chances [next year],” Conarroe said.
Basalt now faces No. 1 seed Roaring Fork in the semifinals of the district playoffs Friday at Palisades High School. The championship game is slated for Saturday in Palisade.
Roaring Fork, 11-1 in league and 17-2 overall, beat Basalt 57-42 on Jan. 7, and 60-41 on Jan. 29.
Kappeli doesn’t expect their next match-up to be any easier.
“It’s going to be a tough, tough, tough game,” he said. “We’ve got to be ready and play all phases.”
Steve Benson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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