Boys basketball: Basalt holds off late Aspen rally
The Aspen Times
BASALT — The Aspen Skiers, with a frantic fourth-quarter rally, turned a frustrating game into a frustrating thriller Saturday.
The Basalt High School boys basketball team turned a frustrating game into a 54-47 bounce-back victory over the visiting Skiers, easing the pain of a frustrating home loss to Grand Valley a night earlier.
“It’s nice to get a win. It was ugly, but it’s a win,” Basalt head coach Danny Martinez said after the Longhorns watched their 19-point fourth-quarter lead shrink like a cotton T-shirt in a super-hot dryer.
Aspen’s Jack Rosenthal hit two long 3-pointers, teammate AJ Detrick added a corner 3 and the Skiers pulled from 50-31 to 50-44 over the span of 2 minutes and 17 seconds.
But key free throws over the final 40 seconds from Wade Soho, Mike Glen and Raul Torres finally sealed Basalt’s 54-47 victory in the Western Slope League game at the Big House.
Glen led all scorers with 20 points, including one 3-pointer.
Pedro Rivera added 11 for the Longhorns.
Torres finished with eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.
“Raul is always like that,” Martinez said. “He boards well. He gets his points going hard to the basket.”
Soho scored six, and Pablo Rivera added four.
Basalt’s stifling defense set the tone early, limiting the Skiers to 13 first-half points.
“The first half was good defensively for us,” Martinez said. “We were helping each other out, getting in the gaps.”
But he said he juggled his lineup too much late in the game, allowing the Skiers to surge behind a splashdown of four 3-pointers.
“That was my bad,” Martinez said. “He (Rosenthal) hit a couple 3s, and it was a close game again.”
The steady play of Glen and the late foul shots were critical, the Basalt coach said after the Longhorns improved to 7-2 overall, 5-2 in the Western Slope League.
Rosenthal, who led Aspen with 19 points, hit two 3-pointers in the opening quarter and added three more in the fourth quarter.
Tristan Niskanen scored nine points for the Skiers and had eight rebounds.
Detrick finished with eight points; Hazen and James Kistner scored four each as the Skiers moved to 4-6 overall, 1-4 in league play. The loss was their third in a row.
The Basalt boys will host Cedaredge on Tuesday before playing at Olathe on Friday and hosting Coal Ridge next Saturday.
Aspen will play at Moffat County on Friday and at Roaring Fork next Saturday.
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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.