Longhorns enjoy lesson in state basketball geography
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
BASALT – The Longhorns are learning Colorado geography this week, complete with a field trip.
The Basalt High School boys basketball team, into the state playoffs for the first time in recent years, will navigate the 267-mile journey from the Western Slope to the Eastern Plains, heading to Morgan County for the Class 3A Regionals at Brush.
The Beetdiggers (19-3) were the No. 4 overall seed in the 32-team Class 3A playoff field. Brush will host the Longhorns (8-14), seeded No. 29 after qualifying through the Western Slope League District Tournament.
Game time will be 7 p.m. in Brush, according to Beetdiggers’ athletic officials.
No. 13 Moffat County (18-4) will take on No. 20 Classical Academy (14-8), of Colorado Springs, in the 5 p.m. game Friday at Brush High School.
The winners will play at 1 p.m. Saturday for a berth in the elite eight.
“I’m happy for these guys,” Basalt head coach Rolf Schildman said. “It’s great they get to see what it’s like to play for a regional title.”
He said the Longhorns steadily improved this season, eventually earning a trip to Palisade and the district tournament semifinals.
The regional trip to Brush is icing on the basketball cake for a Basalt team that suffered through 20 consecutive losses a year ago.
“And we’re playing pretty good ball right now,” Schildman said.
“It’s exciting to play someone we haven’t seen two or three times this year.”
He said the familiarity of conference play makes it tough. But a chance to face a team from a different part of the state offers the Longhorns a chance to execute against a first-time opponent.
The Beetdiggers, playing at home with great expectations, will face the pressure of an upstart opponent when the Longhorns take the court.
“We can get out there, and who knows what will happen,” Schildman said, adding that the Longhorns must play solid defense against a balanced Brush team.
Geoffrey Dunker leads the Beetdiggers at 10 points per game.
Kyle Rosenbrock, Randy Baker and Austin Garcia average close to nine points a game.
Rosenbrock is coming off a rare Colorado prep double: He competed in wrestling and basketball both this winter. He’s also an all-state football player.
Brush’s three losses this year came against Sterling (39-36), Jefferson Academy (52-49) and Yuma (55-49), in a bitter neighborhood rivalry game akin to Basalt-Roaring Fork.
“These guys are starting to believe in themselves,” Schildman said. “They’ve gotten over the mental hurdle (of losing).”
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