Longhorns fall in OT at state | AspenTimes.com

Longhorns fall in OT at state

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Ldy Longhorns Molly McGrath (12) and Mariah Mulcahy put pressure on Centauri's Idula Espinosa as the Longhorns try to come back in the last seconds of overtime. Jacob N. Ware photo.

AIR FORCE ACADEMY – The Basalt High School girls basketball team lost a 67-62 overtime heartbreaker to the Centauri Falcons on Thursday in the first round of the Class 3A state basketball tournament.

The Longhorns, the first BHS team to qualify for state-level play since 1989, take on Manitou Springs (20-5) at 8:45 a.m. today in the consolation bracket.

Centauri, now 22-1, advanced to a semifinal matchup against unbeaten Colorado Springs Christian, which beat Manitou Springs by five points on Thursday.

Basalt led 60-58 late in the game, but Centauri made two free throws with eight seconds left to send the game into overtime.

The four-minute overtime began with a steal by the Longhorns, one of the few high points of the period. A Centauri foul in the first few seconds put Mariah Mulcahy on the free-throw line, but the junior missed both shots. And although Autumn Caughern blocked two Centauri shots within 10 seconds, the second block resulted in her fifth foul and benched the sophomore for the remainder of the game. The foul also sent the Falcons to the free-throw line for the first two points of the bonus period.

Molly McGrath managed the Longhorns’ only basket in overtime, tying the game for the last time. Centauri went ahead on a field goal with 1:10 left and then made 3-of-4 free-throw attempts down the stretch to finish with a five-point win.

High scorers for Basalt were Mulcahy with 20 points and McGrath with 19, including three 3-pointers. Stephanie Kemp contributed 11 points, while Lauren Redfern added eight points and Caughern had four.

The Longhorns can still earn the Class 3A fifth-place trophy by winning their games today and Saturday.

Thursday’s game began with an early lead for the favored Basalt team. Mulcahy put the Longhorns on the board first, and Kemp sank two straight shots to lift Basalt to a 6-2 lead.

A shot from Redfern, a sophomore, followed by a 3-point basket by Mulcahy, pushed BHS to a seven-point lead before Centauri corrected a few of its shooting troubles. The Falcons came back at the end of the first quarter to take a 15-13 lead.

Centauri upped its lead in the second quarter with two jump shots and a 3-pointer, followed by two successful trips to the free-throw line.

A trip to the foul line allowed Mulcahy to score Basalt’s first points of the quarter with three minutes left to play, followed by a five-point contribution by McGrath, a senior, nearly one minute later. Kemp sank the last bucket of the quarter, but Centauri entered the locker room with a six-point advantage, 28-22.

Redfern began the scoring for BHS in the second half, sinking two field goals. Kemp made her first 3-pointer of the day, and after a bucket from Mulcahy, BHS regained the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.

The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the third quarter, but poor BHS shooting allowed Centauri to take a 42-39 lead into the final quarter.

The Longhorns found their momentum in the fourth quarter – though the team was forced to do so without Redfern, who fouled out in the opening seconds – thanks in part to two McGrath 3-pointers and a 5-of-6 free-throw effort from Kemp and Mulcahy. Late baskets by McGrath and Caughern gave BHS its final lead at 60-58.

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