Basalt, Henderson overwhelm Aspen boys basketball early en route to win
The Basalt High School boys basketball team is difficult to beat when its defensive intensity can match the hot shooting of senior guard Justin Henderson. Friday in Aspen, the Longhorns used both to cruise by their upvalley rivals 61-34 on senior night for the Skiers.
It also gave the Longhorns the season sweep of Aspen after also beating the Skiers 70-46 on Jan. 11 in Basalt.
“The way we stepped on the floor in the first half and the way we continued throughout the game was with our defense,” BHS coach C.P. Martinez said. “And that has really been a staple for us as we’ve come down. Of course having Justin score the way he does really allows us to play effectively on both ends of the floor.”
Henderson scored 26 points for Basalt, 17 of which came in the first half. This outscored the entire AHS team, which trailed 37-10 at halftime. Aspen was down 10-0 before it found its first basket with less than two minutes to play in the first quarter and trailed 17-3 entering the second quarter.
“It was a lot of fun,” Henderson said of the first half. “It definitely put them in a tough spot to try and come back and we just kept putting it to them.”
Aspen did find itself in the second half, matching Basalt point for point, and even outscored the Longhorns in the fourth quarter. But like it’s been so often this season, the Skiers couldn’t overcome a slow start.
“We woke up and tried to fight fire with fire,” Aspen coach Alex Schrempf said. “When they do bring it and when we do light a fire under them like in the second half good things start coming. There are some adjustments I could have made and some calls I could have made differently that might have spurred a different start.”
The loss dropped Aspen to 4-14 overall, while Basalt improved to 5-13. Each team has one game remaining in the regular season. At 2-5 in 3A Western Slope League play, Aspen is virtually guaranteed to play in Monday’s pigtail play-in game, and very well could host. The Skiers play at Roaring Fork, one of the best teams in the league, at 4 p.m. today to close out their 19-game schedule.
Basalt improved to 3-5 in league play and plays Saturday at Olathe. The winner of that game will likely advance straight to Tuesday’s round of eight games, while the loser is likely to host a district play-in game on Monday.
“I know it’s the end of the season, but it’s definitely going to build up how many games we can go on for the rest of the season,” Henderson said of Friday’s win. “We are just going to keep improving as we always have been.”
Basalt girls 49, Aspen 25
The Basalt High School girls basketball team shut down the host Skiers early en route to an easy 49-25 victory inside the AHS gymnasium on Friday.
Basalt led 13-1 after a quarter but AHS found some momentum in the second quarter to trail 22-11 at halftime.
The Longhorns then pulled away in the third quarter to roll to a season sweep of the Skiers.
“Finally a lot of things came together that we’ve been working on,” BHS coach Kat Fitzpatrick said. “I threw in a lot of new stuff this week in terms of offense and defense, so I was really proud of the way the girls adjusted with it. We finally got it going in the third quarter.”
Basalt senior Kate Schrock led all players with 22 points.
Aspen fell to 1-17 overall and 0-8 in league play. The Skiers are guaranteed to play on the road Monday in a district play-in game.
Basalt improved to 5-13 overall and 2-6 in league play. A win Saturday at Olathe could mean the Longhorns would host Monday’s play-in game, while a loss would send them on the road. There is a good chance Olathe and Basalt will meet again on Monday regardless of who is hosting.
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Buttermilk Ski Area already is scheduled to host the world’s best at ESPN’s X Games this coming week, while it was recently announced Aspen Highlands will host alpine skiing’s NorAm finals later this spring.