Basalt in the hunt for final spot |

Basalt in the hunt for final spot

RIFLE ” Cody Burkholder scored 18 points and the Basalt defense clamped down to keep the Longhorns’ state tournament hopes alive.

The Longhorns downed Hotchkiss 62-53 in an elimination game at the Class 3A District 2 tournament at Rifle High School Thursday afternoon.

“Our intensity and defensive aggressiveness was great,” said Basalt head coach Michael Green.

The Longhorns got off to a 17-7 start in the first quarter and, other than a brief hiccup in the third quarter, never allowed Hotchkiss into the contest.

“In the first half we really took them out of anything they wanted to do,” Green said. “We struggled a little in the third when we got out of what we wanted to do, but we were able to hold on in the end and finish.”

Along with Burkholder, who also posted five assists, Darren Duroux and Ben Pollock finished in double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Green was happy to see Duroux and Pollock step up, and they will likely need to do it again Saturday against Cedaredge when the two squads play for the final regional playoff spot.

Cedaredge, which beat Olathe 66-52 in the other loser-out game, defeated Basalt in both meetings during the regular season.

But both games were decided by a single bucket, and Green knows how hard it is to beat a team three times in a season.

“I think we need to take advantage of our overall height and size,” Green said of the fifth-place game. “We have seen them twice and the first game we were up by 20 and lost by two, so we’re looking to redeem ourselves. It will be a tough game, but, if we play the game with a lot of confidence and intensity, the ball will fall our way.”

The fifth-place game is set for 11:30 p.m. on Saturday at Rifle High School.

In semifinal games Thursday, Roaring Fork downed Gunnison 72-37 and Aspen upset Eagle Valley 54-50. No other information was available at press time.

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