BHS wins district championship
Aspen Times Staff Writer
“Back-to-back” is a phrase the Basalt High School girls basketball team gets to use often.
Just two weeks ago, the Longhorns became 3A Western Slope League champs for the second year in a row, earning the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s district tournament. And the team, now 21-1 on the season and on a 14-game winning streak, claimed the district title this weekend with three decisive victories – again, for the second straight year.
But there was something that made this particular tournament sweet, BHS coach Debbie Alcorta said.
“I’ll tell you something about these three games – we won all four quarters of every game,” she said. “Usually we’ll lose a quarter here or there when we’re starting to sub some of our bench, but in this tournament, there was no change, no matter when we subbed a girl in. For me, to do that in a district tournament, is just awesome.”
District play began Thursday with BHS downing Olathe 67-43. The game was the Longhorns’ first in nearly two weeks, since Basalt finished its regular season a week earlier than the rest of the league and received a bye in the district tourney’s first round.
“You could tell we’d had a week and a half off,” Alcorta said. “Our defense this whole tournament was incredible, but you could tell we were a little bit rusty. We had some fabulous scoring opportunities, but just couldn’t make them.”
Senior Mariah Mulcahy led Basalt with 19 points, while teammates Lauren Redfern, Autumn Caughern and Stephanie Kemp each contributed 18.
Night two of the tournament seemed to be the most nerve-racking for BHS, Alcorta said, as the team faced No. 4 seed Rangely. The first time the teams met in the regular season, BHS managed a 10-point win; however, in their second matchup, BHS squeaked out a win only after trailing by six points at the half.
“That was the toughest game we had all year,” Alcorta said. “The second time we played them, that was the only time we’ve ever gone into the locker room down at halftime [this season].
“The girls were very nervous … they said, ‘Every time we play them, they get closer to us.'”
The Longhorns fought their nerves to earn a 14-4 lead in the first quarter and eventually worked to a 53-34 win. Caughern led with 16 points, followed by Molly McGrath with 13 and Redfern with 11.
The two wins sent the girls to the district championship game against midvalley rival and No. 3 seed Roaring Fork. BHS managed to hold the Rams to just 15 points in the second half en route to a 52-39 win.
A district championship title has earned BHS the No. 4 seed in the regional tourney, which begins Tuesday. The girls welcome No. 29 seed Lutheran (11-11 on the season) to the BHS Bighouse and, if they earn their 15th win in a row, the team will welcome the winner of Tuesday’s Pagosa Springs-Rangely game for a Friday night match-up.
“If Rangely would win, that will be the fourth time we would see Rangely this season,” Alcorta laughed. “I think they’ll be ready after what happened on Friday night.”
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