Lady Longhorns take aim at a 3rd straight title
The Basalt High girls basketball team moved closer to clinching a third straight 3A Western Slope League title with a 70-52 win over Cedaredge Friday night at the BHS Bighouse.The Cedaredge girls entered the game tied with Basalt atop the league standings, but now Cedaredge shares the No. 2 position with Roaring Fork, each with two losses in league play. With only three games remaining in the regular season, Basalt, the undisputed No. 1, improved to 10-1 in league and 13-3 overall.Meanwhile, Aspen High’s boys and girls varsity basketball squads swept lesser-ranked squads from Eagle Valley on the road Friday night, and the BHS boys (6-5, 6-10) were marched off the court 70-41 by Cedaredge, the No. 1 team in the boys standings (11-0, 15-1).Lady Longhorn juniors Lauren Redfern and Autumn Caughern led the attack on Cedaredge, combining for 46 points in a game that “was all Basalt from tipoff,” according to BHS girls coach Debbie Alcorta.Redfern led all scorers with 29 points. “She was incredible Friday night. She pulled down 10 boards for sure, too,” Alcorta said.Caughern added 17 points and seven of the nine Basalt girls that saw action scored.”It was a total group effort. [Starting senior point guard] Mariah Mulcahy is injured – she didn’t play much and only had five points – but even without a big part of our offense available, we still walked away with an 18-point win,” Alcorta said.”It was a big win for our program. The girls are learning that they’ve all got roles to play.”Basalt plays at Eagle Valley Tuesday night, then hosts Hotchkiss the following Tuesday, Feb. 18, before facing off with Roaring Fork on Friday, Feb. 21, in their regular season finale at the Bighouse. Eagle Valley and Hotchkiss account for two of the four teams in the bottom half of the girls league standings, while Roaring Fork (9-2, 13-3) stands in a tie for second with Cedaredge.”Anything can happen. I know with my girls, emotions run high, and with Roaring Fork coming up, that’s always a big rivalry, an emotional game. But you can’t overlook Eagle Valley or Hotchkiss either. We have to prepare for each team,” Alcorta said.@ATD Sub heds:Aspen boys cruise@ATD body copy:The Aspen High boys improved to 9-2 in league play and 12-4 overall with a 56-41 win at Eagle Valley Friday.Seniors Phil Salazar and Nick Farrell scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, but it was tough defense that delivered the win over Eagle Valley, sixth in the league standings at 3-8, 4-12, according to AHS coach Steve Ketchum.Aspen limited Eagle Valley’s back court duo of Justin Wood and Craig Jagger to just 16 points: Wood scored no points in the first half and finished with 12, while Jagger, who scored 21 in the first meeting between the two teams, was held to just 4 points.”These are two of the best one-on-one players in the state, but our kids did an outstanding job defensively,” said Ketchum. “Brett Mufson, Ty Gartner and Josh Lackey took turns on Jagger all night, and Nick Farrell pretty much shut down Wood in the first half.”The kids are really stepping up, working hard and moving their feet, helping each other out, boxing out under the boards, so it’s starting to come together. I think they’re pretty happy with the effort.”Aspen remains tied for second in the league standings with Roaring Fork, each with two league losses apiece. This weekend, Aspen hosts Olathe and Gunnison, the cellar-dwellers of the league, each with a record of 1-10, 2-14.Then, on Feb. 21, Aspen hosts Cedaredge.”It should be a bit of a breather for us until Cedaredge. That’s gonna be a huge challenge,” Ketchum said.@ATD Sub heds:Aspen girls start hot@ATD body copy:Aspen senior Lizzie Suiter scored 13 of her 27 points in the first quarter as the AHS girls trounced Eagle Valley 55-35 Friday on the road.Aspen jumped out to a 20-4 lead in the first quarter, and “that was pretty much the ball game right there,” said Aspen coach Lance Finkbeiner.AHS junior Leandra Sivess contributed 11 points and had nine rebounds.”It was a great team performance. Our defense was great and our offense stems off that. It’s the time of the year when you need to start playing better and we did that for sure Friday night,” Finkbeiner said.Aspen improved to 6-5 in league play, 9-7 overall. The Aspen girls are sitting in fourth place in the league standings, behind Basalt, Cedaredge and Roaring Fork, one peg up from Eagle Valley (4-7, 7-9).Aspen hosts Olathe and Gunnison this weekend, the sixth- and seventh-place teams, respectively. However, Olathe (4-7, 6-10) upset Aspen the last time around.”So we’re definitely out to get them,” Finkbeiner said. “I don’t think we’ll overlook either of these teams.”
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Sophomore Ava Lane is a flourishing star in her own right, but spends a lot of her time trying to chase down senior Sierra Bower and sophomore Katelyn Maley, both in practice and in races. This, however, is only making her stronger down the line and it’s not a task she will shy away from.