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Pollock pushes ‘Horns past Bruins

Nate Peterson
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times
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Inside, outside, from the stripe, from behind the arc – it didn’t matter.Basalt senior guard Ben Pollock found holes in the Cedaredge defense Tuesday night where there seemingly weren’t any, scorching the Bruins for 19 points and leading his team to an easy 56-35 win in the first round of the district tournament.And it wasn’t just the buckets between two and three defenders. Or the three 3-pointers. Pollock also led the Longhorns in assists and set the pace on defense as he held one of the Bruins’ best players, Bo Baker, to four points.

“When I start to hit shots, it forces me them to guard me a little closer and get a little looser on the other guys,” Pollock said. “When I get going, the rest get going, too. It’s nothing really based around me, it’s just me playing hard and everyone else doing the same.”With the win, the Longhorns advance to the second round of districts, where they will face Gunnison Friday in Palisade after the Cowboys handled Hotchkiss easily Tuesday in a 51-34 win. Basalt and the Cowboys have split their two games this season. The Longhorns won the first meeting 67-36, in January, before losing earlier this month, 59-56.Basalt took a while to get warmed up Tuesday night. The Bruins jumped out to a 7-4 lead before Pollock knocked away a steal from Bruins junior Ryan Marah for a layup. On the ensuing Longhorns’ possession, Pollock drained his first 3-pointer, which put the ‘Horns ahead for good. Basalt finished the quarter with five more points to cap a 10-0 run.After a closer-than-expected 7-point win against the Bruins last week at Cedaredge, Green didn’t let his team lessen its pace in the second quarter. Basalt used a full-court press to force turnovers from both Marah and Baker, which led to easy baskets and a lopsided 30-14 advantage at the half.

In the third quarter, the Bruins matched the Longhorns’ output of 10 points with a fast-break offense. But still trailing by 16 heading into the fourth, the Bruins eventually wore down. The Longhorns went on a 15-8 to start the fourth quarter and pushed the to as much as 24 before reserves played out the final two minutes.”They tried to get us in a run-down game, and we probably forced some things a little bit and didn’t control ourselves as much as I would have liked,” Green said. “But then they cut it to 13, I thought we regained our composure, became more disciplined and did a better job of getting the shots we wanted to get.”Marah led the Bruins with nine points. Senior Travis Haye was the team’s second-leading scorer, adding five.

Pollock finished the night 2-for-2 from the free-throw line and added four inside buckets to his three 3-pointers for his tally of 19. He was at his best in the second, where he had eight of Basalt’s 16 points.Seniors Darren Duroux and Jason Troyer added 10 apiece, and sophomore Connor Rakowski had seven.”We were a little sloppy at times, but we got ahead early and just cruised,” Pollock said. “It’s a good win overall. Last time we played these guys we played really bad, so it feels really good to get a 20-point win. It gives us some confidence going into Gunnison.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com


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