Duroux lifts Longhorns | AspenTimes.com

Duroux lifts Longhorns

Kelley Cox photo

It would figure that a team whose gym is nicknamed “The Big House” would get big numbers from its biggest player in the biggest game of the season.

Six-foot-5 center Darren Duroux scored a game-high 17 points and dominated inside as Basalt easily brushed aside Hotchkiss, 53-36, Tuesday night at BHS to advance to the Class 3A Western Slope League district tournament semifinals at Palisade High School on Friday at 5 p.m.

On Friday, the 11-9 Longhorns, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, play No. 5 Aspen, which upset No. 4 Cedaredge in overtime, 56-53, on the road last night.

Tuesday marked quite a turnaround for the Longhorns’ center, who struggled to find his shot at the start of the contest. Duroux was 1-for-6 from the floor in the first quarter. And, with their main offensive threat in the midst of a slump, the Longhorns couldn’t generate much momentum ” or points.

“Darren was getting good looks at the basket at that time,” said Basalt coach Michael Green. “We just kept running our regular offense, and his shots started to go in.”

Before Duroux found his touch, Basalt posted a meager seven points over the initial six minutes of the first period.

Trailing Hotchkiss by two in the quarter’s final minute, the Longhorns’ Cody Burkholder hit a field goal, then Ben Pollock zipped home a buzzer-beating, 35-foot 3-pointer to give Basalt a 12-9 lead.

Pollock scored 14 points on the night. Most of them came from long distance: Three of the guard’s four field goals came from behind the 3-point line.

Between periods, Duroux regained his lost touch, and Basalt never trailed again. The center scored six of the Horns’ 11 second-quarter points to pull Basalt out to a 23-17 margin at intermission.

Duroux stoked an 8-0 Basalt run in the third quarter that turned the game into a rout.

Burkholder, who finished with 11 points, made the last field goal in the spurt, which raised the Longhorns’ lead to 35-18.

The Longhorns defense helped by keeping Hotchkiss out of sync for most of the contest. The Bulldogs hit only 33 percent of their shots from the field and failed to score more than nine points in the first three quarters.

“We wanted to that,” Green said. “By changing our defenses, it forced them to slow down and take a long time to set up their offense.”

With Basalt ahead 50-31 with three minutes left, Green opened his bench to let the subs finish up.

Mikel Sparks had 12 points for Hotchkiss, which concluded its season with the loss.

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