Kent KOs Lady ‘Horns

Tim Mutrie
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The No. 8-seed Basalt High School girls basketball team dropped a “horrendously physical game” to No. 1 Kent Denver 38-33 in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament on Thursday in Fort Collins.

In a low-scoring contest that saw Basalt (20-5) trailing Kent Denver (24-1) 6-3 after the first quarter, the Lady Longhorns gained the lead at halftime, 18-13, then entered the final quarter trailing by one, 24-23.

Basalt twice overtook Kent Denver on baskets from senior star Lauren Redfern and sophomore Lindsey Soucie in the last frame, but Lady Longhorn turnovers down the stretch enabled Kent Denver to protect its narrow lead.

“You might say we let it slip away,” said Terry Kappeli, the first-year Basalt head coach. “It was definitely a winnable game. It could’ve been ours.

“A horrendously physical game ” like we’ve never seen,” Kappeli continued. “The second Lauren [Redfern] got the ball, she had three people on her like she was in a pinball machine, and nothing called.

“Coming from the Western Slope, you tend to expect a little bit more physical brand of game. But this was beyond what we expected, and I think it played more to Kent Denver’s favor.”

Kent Denver’s Cambrie Nelson led all scorers with 12 points. Basalt junior Deanna Spracher led the Lady Longhorns with 10 points, while Redfern and Soucie added nine and eight, respectively.

“I think our biggest problem today was that Rochelle Moebius has been really sick, so that altered the rotation,” said Kappeli. “She probably shouldn’t have played, but you know how that goes when you get here ” you’re never too sick to give it your best.

“They didn’t give us many good looks in the second half. We threw some lazy passes, and I think that was the difference,” Kappeli said.

Redfern, the coach added, “played an awesome physical game. She was actually enjoying it out there.

“And Lindsey Soucie, coming off the bench, played some great minutes for us. So much emphasis was put on Lauren that was left open occasionally and helped us take advantage of that.”

Today at 11:25 a.m. at Moby Arena at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Class 3A Western Slope League rivals Basalt and Roaring Fork will meet for a fourth time this season in the consolation bracket of the 3A state tourney. No. 5 Roaring Fork (22-3) lost its quarterfinal game to No. 4 Platte Valley 64-61 yesterday.

Basalt, the four-time reigning 3A Western Slope League champions, beat Roaring Fork twice during the regular season. More recently, in the finals of the 3A WSL district tournament, Roaring Fork bettered Basalt for the first time in at least four years.

Kappeli said his players took the defeat in stride, already turning to today’s game.

“I think they appreciated and feel blessed to have had the year they’ve had and to be where they are,” he said. ‘They’ve kept their heads high. They’ve done a real good job, and they’re ready to play [Friday.]”