Top-seeded Basalt girls falter against Hotchkiss |

Top-seeded Basalt girls falter against Hotchkiss

Jon Maletz

It’s not yet March Madness, but the upsets came a week early for the Basalt girls basketball team Friday.The Longhorns (17-3, 11-1), the Class 3A District 2’s top-seeded team and runaway Western Slope champion, fell in overtime to Hotchkiss, 48-40, in Palisade.”This is a game we absolutely shouldn’t have lost,” Basalt coach Carolyn Compton said. “You know it’s a bad loss when the other coach thanks you for giving it away.”Basalt, which received a first-round bye into Friday’s semifinals, jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead after the first eight minutes of play, and extended that lead to seven heading into halftime.But, just as they had during multiple contests this season, Basalt let the Bulldogs stay close, in large part the result of the Longhorns’ lack of efficiency on offense, Compton said. Basalt, which swept the regular season series with Hotchkiss by a combined score of 94-83, turned the ball over in each of its final four possessions at the end of the second. The team also committed some dumb fouls, Compton said, which resulted in Hotchkiss scoring 25 points – just over half of their game total – from the free throw line.”We gave them way too many from the line and I guess we just decided not to play smart,” Compton said. “We give other teams confidence that they don’t deserve. We like to hand it out.”As Compton watched a sluggish first game between Cedaredge and Roaring Fork unfold, she said she was convinced the second game would be just the opposite. In its final practice on Thursday, Basalt was clicking on both sides of the ball. Compton’s team had reason to be confident after winning 16 of 17 games dating back to Dec. 3.Friday, against a decidedly pro-Bulldogs crowd, Basalt could muster just 38 points after four quarters, and just two in the overtime period. Junior Katy Mulcahy led the team with 12 points and sophomore Dayne Toney added 10. Hotchkiss scored all 10 of its points in the extra frame from the line to advance to today’s final against Roaring Fork. The Longhorns will play a consolation game with Cedaredge at 1 p.m.”The game before us was one of the most boring games I’ve ever saw and I thought that’s not gonna happen to us,” Compton said. “I though we were gonna come out and put up 60. I don’t know if it was the aura in the gym or what.”This is a good team and maybe they need to get pissed a little bit. I’m sure they’re mad they [may have] just handed the league to Roaring Fork.”The loss effectively ends Basalt’s hopes of hosting an opening round game in next week’s 3A state tournament. Compton, who is ardently opposed to the district tournament, says her team is confident playing on the road. The Longhorns were 9-3 away from home this season.Despite their loss Friday, Basalt is still four games ahead of Roaring Fork in the Slope standings, Compton said. “The league really doesn’t mean a darn thing,” she added. Despite the minor setback, Compton said she is not worried about the current state of her team as the season enters its most crucial stretch. Following its first loss of the season to Faith Christian, Basalt responded with 10 straight victories. Following a loss to Roaring Fork – the Longhorns’ only conference defeat – Compton’s team won six consecutive games.And after a performance Friday that Compton said was one of the worst she’s witnessed all season, there’s only one way to go.”We’ll play better [today],” she added. “We can’t play this way two times in a row.The Basalt boys beat Gunnison 60-47 to advance to today’s district final against top-seeded Roaring Fork. The Rams advanced with their 61-37 win over Aspen.Head coaches Michael Green (Basalt) and Steve Ketchum (Aspen) could not be reached for comment.