Boys basketball: Moffat Co., Basalt sweep Aspen High
The Aspen Times
The Moffat County High School boys basketball team maximized its long trip to Aspen on Saturday with a comeback victory over the host Aspen Skiers.
The Bulldogs, after the trip from Craig, turned back a five-point Aspen halftime lead to win 49-43.
After taking the lead in the third quarter, the Moffat County boys converted 8-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter of the Western Slope League finale.
The Skiers, coming off a Friday night loss to rival Basalt, led early against Moffat County in their final home game.
AJ Detrick scored eight points in the opening quarter as the Skiers built a 15-10 lead.
A stalemate of 10 points each in the second quarter left Aspen up by five at 25-20.
Moffat County cut into the lead midway through the third on a 3-pointer from Dusty Taylor. a Keenan Hildebrandt foul shot and a layup by Edward Smercina.
The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game with 2:54 to play in the third on a 3-pointer by Ben Robinson.
After a Hildebrandt putback basket, the Skiers pulled closer on fouls shots by James Kistner and Jack Rosenthal.
Moffat County led 35-34 entering the fourth quarter, when they used free throws to win and improve to 6-8 in the Western Slope League, 7-12 overall.
Bobinson led the balanced Bulldogs with 12 points.
Hildebrandt and Brent Cook scored 11 points each.
Taylor finished with seven; Smercina had six.
Aspen’s Detrick led all scorers with a season-high 19 points.
Tristan Niskanen added nine; Zack George scored seven. Will Hazen added five.
The Skiers managed three 3-pointers Saturday — two by Detrick and one by Hazen.
The Aspen boys moved to 3-11 in the Western Slope League, 6-13 overall.
As the No. 7 team in the conference, the Aspen boys will travel to Grand Valley on Tuesday night for the first round of the Western Slope District Tournament.
Moffat County, the No. 6 team, will travel to play at No. 3 Basalt on Tuesday night.
Basalt at Aspen
On senior night, the underclassmen ruled.
The Basalt High School boys basketball team, with not a senior on the roster, spoiled the annual senior celebration for the rival Skiers on Friday night, pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 71-43 victory.
Playing in front of a large crowd from Basalt as well as the largest Aspen home crowd of the season, the Longhorns surged in the second half. They parlayed a stunning 30-12 run into the big Western Slope League victory.
“The boys played well,” Basalt head coach Danny Martinez said after the Longhorns improved to 14-4 overall and 9-4 in league play. “We tried … to take advantage of their foul trouble. But we’ve got to make more of them (free throws).”
The Basalt boys shot 29 free throws Friday night, making 17.
Pedro Rivera hit 4-of-4 foul shots in the fourth quarter. Kyle Roberts added two more in the final period.
The Skiers were 6-of-11 from the foul line in a game where they got off to a fast start.
The Skiers, with 3-pointers from Will Hazen and Jack Rosenthal and six points from AJ Detrick, stayed even with the Longhorns through the first quarter.
With Basalt up 13-12, Raul Torres attacked in the lane and converted five more free throws in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Basalt junior Mike Glen quietly piled up 13 first-half points, including five from the line. He would finished with a game-high 24 points for the Longhorns, including a dunk in front of the purple-clad Basalt fans.
Torres finished with 13 points for Basalt.
Pedro Rivera scored eight; Pablo Rivera scored six.
And Roberts closed with eight points in the Basalt victory.
Rosenthal scored 17 to lead the Aspen scorers. Detrick added 15 points. Hazen finished with six.
Tristan Niskanen, one of the honored Aspen seniors, scored with 2:46 to play in the first half, pulling the Skiers to within 25-21.
Basalt answered with eight consecutive points, including a steal and layup from Pablo Rivera.
That produced a 31-21 halftime lead.
The Skiers, who had fallen behind at Basalt in a game earlier this season but rallied with 3-pointers, tried to repeat the feat Friday night.
Detrick and Hazen both hit 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
But Aspen would manage only nine points in the final period as the Skiers lost their 10th leage game of the season.
The teams will open Western Slope District Tournament play Tuesday with the top four teams hosting the four lower teams in the first round. The tournament will continue next Friday and Saturday in Grand Junction.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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