Lions squash Basalt’s title hopes |

Lions squash Basalt’s title hopes

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Basalt's Dayne Toney (11) gets above C.S. Christian's Bethany Beck (35) for a rebound at Moby Arena on Thursday, Mar. 8, 2008. C.S. Christian defeated Basalt 19-33.
Katie Stevens | The Rocky Mountain Collegian

FORT COLLINS, Colo. ” Dayne Toney’s subdued grin and slight shrug of the shoulders said it all.

Moments earlier in Thursday’s 3A state tournament Great 8 game against Colorado Springs Christian, the Basalt senior drove hard to the basket and 6-foot-4 Lions center Morgan Broekhuis casually rolled to the hoop and, without leaving the floor, batted her shot out of play.

The Lions’ post made Basalt’s dreams of a state title a thing of the past. Broekhuis and front-line mate Bethany Beck dominated the boards and combined for 52 points ” they outscored the Longhorns by themselves. Second-seeded Colorado Springs Christian jumped out to an 18-6 first-quarter lead and No. 1 Basalt, which struggled through one of its worst shooting games of the season, could never recover, falling 67-49.

“We dug a pretty big hole,” Longhorns coach Carolyn Compton said. “We’re not used to coming from behind.”

Basalt never led Thursday and could keep pace only for the game’s first four minutes. After senior Hailey Guglielmo nailed a jumper to tie the game at four, Broekhuis and Beck fueled a 14-2 Lions run to break the game wide open.

Once Colorado Springs Christian began asserting itself in the paint and on the boards, Basalt uncharacteristically flinched.

“They had five inches on all of us. It was intimidating,” Longhorns senior guard Kat Fitzpatrick said. “Some of the girls were afraid to do the stuff they’re usually doing.”

As Basalt (21-4) hesitated, Broekhuis and Beck continued to stretch the Lions’ lead. The duo combined to score 29 of their team’s 33 first-half points and Broekhuis, just a sophomore, had 12 rebounds in the first 16 minutes.

The Longhorns’ run-and-gun style of play produced 10 first-half turnovers, but they couldn’t cash in on the offensive end. Basalt missed 28 of its 35 shot attempts, had just one second-chance basket and were outrebounded, 29-17.

Colorado Springs Christian (23-2) stretched its first-half lead to 19 when Beck finished on the offensive glass, prompting a Basalt timeout 4 minutes, 36 seconds before the half.

The Longhorns showed some life, responding with a 7-0 spurt. Guglielmo hit an off-balance runner and Fitzpatrick finished underneath and from 3 on successive possessions as Basalt pulled to within 13 at halftime.

“We weren’t putting the ball up like we should’ve … I don’t know what the hesitation was about,” Compton said. “We could’ve climbed back in. We started to climb back in.”

Toney’s offensive board and score coupled with two free throws from her and Fitzpatrick cut the Lions’ lead to 10 just 40 seconds into the third quarter. But any optimism was quickly dashed when Jessika Beach hit Colorado Springs Christian’s only 3-pointer of the game.

Two minutes later, guard LeeAnn Routt scored twice in transition and the Lions’ lead ballooned to 17.

Basalt pulled to within 10 one more time in the fourth when junior Melissa Stewart buried a 3 with a defender in her face with 4 minutes to play. They could pull no closer.

“We’d hit a couple 3-pointers, then give up a lay-up,” Compton said. “We haven’t given up many lay-ups all season. It’s not going to balance out.

“There were spurts of great play, but how often did we choose to do it as a team.”

Fitzpatrick led the way with 22 points, Guglielmo had 10 and Toney added nine ” well below her season average. The Longhorns had no points from their reserves.

Basalt’s up-tempo style did yield 26 Lions turnovers, but the Longhorns continued their cold shooting in the second half, going 8-of-44. They were held to fewer than 50 points for just the second time this season ” both resulted in losses.

Broekhuis’ presence in the paint had much to do with Basalt’s struggles. She blocked four shots, pulled down 18 rebounds to go with 25 points and forced Longhorns shooters to take off-balance shots.

All-told, they shot 20 percent. It was a performance eerily reminiscent of last season’s state championship game, when Basalt missed 44 of its 58 shot attempts in a loss to Machebeuf.

“We came out well in the second half, but it didn’t last,” Compton said. “We needed a couple more players to step up.”

Beck finished with 27 points. She left to a standing ovation with 2:35 remaining and the Lions leading, 59-45.

We could’ve done it … ,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everyone out there can shoot. Some of them just didn’t look confident.”

As a result, the Longhorns went from preseason No. 1 to done. They do have a chance to leave Moby Arena with a win however; Basalt will play in Friday’s consolation bracket semi­finals at 8:45 a.m.