Lady ‘Horns still WSL queens |

Lady ‘Horns still WSL queens

With league championship titles dating back three seasons, the 2003-04 Lady Longhorns hoops team doesn’t know the meaning of “rebuilding season.”

Seniors like Lauren Redfern, a two-year returning starter at center, and Rochelle Moebius have seen three state championship tournaments, including last year’s heartbreaking one-point loss in the Class 3A semifinals.

This year, despite a new head coach, Terry Kappeli, the third since the Longhorns’ Class 3A Western Slope League dominance began, expect pretty much the same thing.

“We’ll still be an up-tempo team, no doubt about that. We’ll run a stiff defense, and we’ll run,” Kappeli said yesterday.

Tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the BHS Big House, the Lady Longhorns open the season against Rifle, a larger Class 4A nonleague opponent.

“The girls’ athleticism has been unbelievable for many years,” said Kappeli, whose children, Heather and Kyle, played hoops at BHS. (Heather was the 3A WSL player of the year in 2001, the founding year of the league championship streak.)

“This is the Longhorn basketball team you’ve seen in the past. We’re just fortunate enough to get athletes that can do that. And the basketball players we’re getting now, as freshmen, have already been coached well. I’ve got 14 freshmen this year, and they’re as strong as ever.”

Senior Brittany Pollock returns to a starting slot at gaurd for Basalt, and senior Amanda Schmidt will be back at guard/forward. Junior Deanna Spracher saw a lot of minutes last season’s 22-5 squad, and she’ll more this year, Kappeli said.

“The girls are very upbeat,” he said. “They know it will be a challenging year. We’re looking at a very competitive league.”

“And I don’t really have a gauge yet, because we’ve only had a scrimmage.”

That scrimmage was against Rifle, tonight’s foe, and Kappeli said they’re a tough team.

“Super competitive,” he said.

On Saturday, the Basalt girls travel to Denver to face perennial power Faith Christian.

“Basalt’s always taken on tough competition early on. It’s automatic. It certainly can help you down the road. You only get better playing good teams,” Kappeli said.

Basalt will be without its two leading scorers from last year. Mariah Mulcahy graduated and Autumn Caughern, a dominating scorer and distributor (with 33 points in the league title clinching game last year), moved with her family to Oklahoma. She would be a senior.

“I’m pretty sure we’re going to find some new ones [tonight],” the coach said.

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