Offense shined for Basalt High School's boys basketball team in the Longhorns' loss to Cedaredge on Friday. Saturday evening, it was the defense that shined.
The Longhorns boys led by as many as 19 against Coal Ridge, and created turnovers in the key to down the visitors, 51-38. Coal Ridge never led, and Basalt's Javier Huerta led all scorers with 17 points.
"Today, it was all about defense," Longhorns head coach Rolf Schildman said. "There was good pressure from everybody. Hopefully, someday we'll be able to put the defense and offense together, and we'll have a really complete game."
Neither team could find the net in the opening two minutes until Basalt's Bertilio Garcia drained a basket from 15 feet away. The Longhorns (3-4 overall) defended the paint well except when it came to forward Andy Bowles, who scored all six first quarter points for Coal Ridge (1-7).
It was a low-scoring affair early on with Basalt leading, 9-6.
"We came out flat, and a lot of that is because we got in at 2 a.m. last night," Schildman said after traveling back from Cedaredge on Friday. "We took some bad shots to start out with and were out of place defensively."
The Longhorns' offense woke up in the second quarter, and was sparked by the 6-foot-2 Huerta. Two minutes in to the second, the junior went coast-to-coast to bank in a contested layup. Then with three minutes remaining, he pulled down an offensive rebound from a Garcia miss and scored again.
"We need him to score points, and he does," Schildman said of Huerta. "He also had a pretty good defensive game. He's our rock definitely."
By halftime, Basalt led 25-14 and carried the first-half momentum into the second.
Bowles and the Coal Ridge offense brought the score back within seven, but that was as close as they would get. The Longhorns went on a 7-0 run to close out the third and lead 35-21.
In the fourth, the Titans tried a full-court press, but Basalt's Sean Ryan and Kris Krueger maneuvered their way through it.
"Every game we get a little bit better and a little bit more mature," Schildman said. "That's what I expect out of them."
Alec Herrera paced the Titans with 13 points. Bowles chipped in 10.
Basalt next travels to Moffat County on Friday, and Coal Ridge travels to Grand Valley on Tuesday.
The Coal Ridge girls basketball team fired on all cylinders. The opposite was true for Basalt, and the Titans took advantage to the tune of a 73-27 Class 3A Western Slope League victory.
After the first quarter, the Titans led 21-3. Then at the half, the visitors led 33-14, and closed out the game with a 42-2 scoring run that spanned three quarters. Paced by Amanda Wenzel's 18 points, Coal Ridge rolled to its fourth win of the season and a .500 record.
"I really liked our defense," Titans coach Damon Martinez said. "We played probably our best defensive game of the year. Our team was defense first, and then we got into transition. The girls really got after it and limited the turnovers. That's pretty much it."
Basalt never really found its rhythm on offense as Coal Ridge's defense swarmed to the ball when it was passed down low.
In the second, Basalt recovered from being all but run off its home court with an 11-3 run to pull within 10. That, however, was as close as the Longhorns would come as the Titans closed out the quarter on a 9-0 run.
That's where Basalt's offense went as cold as the Rocky Mountain air.
In the entire third quarter, the Longhorns scored just two points - a couple of free throws by Carina Capobianco.
"Defensively (Coal Ridge) did really well," Basalt head coach Tiffany Robison said. "We just turned it over and couldn't get anything going. We were pretty impatient.
"That's a hard one for sure. I feel like even though we've lost games, we've always gotten better and done really well. Today, that wasn't the case."
The loss dropped Basalt to 0-7. The Longhorns next travel to Moffat County on Friday, while Coal Ridge travels to Grand Valley on Tuesday.
"Grand Valley is one of the best teams in the league, so we'll see if we can carry this momentum into that game," Martinez said. "They're well-coached, and these girls are very aggressive."