Basalt set to challenge for WSL title | PostIndependent.com

Basalt set to challenge for WSL title

Mike Vidakovich
sports@postindependent.com

Basalt boys

Head Coach: Danny Martinez, 4th season

Last season: 19-6 overall, 11-3 Western Slope League. Lost to Pagosa Springs in regional first round.

Key Players: Mike Glen, Sr., F; Perro Rivera, Sr., G; Raul Torres, Jr., F; Miles Levy, Sr., F; Justin Henderson, Jr., G.

Players to Watch: Pablo Rivera, Sr., G; Wade Soho, Sr., F.

Basalt girls

Head Coach: Katheryne Fitzpatrick, 1st year

Last Season: 3-17 overall, 3-11 Western Slope League. No postseason.

Key Players: Kate Schrock, Jr., G; Carsyn Knotts, Sr., G; Cintia Miramontes, Jr., P; Nicole Alvarado, Jr., G.

Players to Watch: Sam Kummer, Jr., F; Becca White, Jr., G.

Things are looking bright for the Basalt Longhorns basketball team as they enter the 2016-17 campaign with a host of experienced veterans returning from a team that posted an 11-3 Western Slope League record last season, and advanced to the regional round of the state tournament.

Coach Danny Martinez, in his fourth season as head coach of the Longhorns, says if everyone stays healthy and focused, his team should be able to stack up with the best the Western Slope League has to offer.

“We have the ability to play with anyone in the conference,” Martinez said. “But you have to go out and prove it on the court each and every night.”

Martinez welcomes back his entire starting lineup from a year ago. It’s a group that will be led by 6-foot-7-inch all-conference forward Mike Glen, who can go inside and around the perimeter on opponents, and fellow all-conference guard Perro Rivera, who will direct the Basalt offense from out front.

In preseason drills, Martinez has been emphasizing the importance of playing good defense for an entire game, and playing together as a tight unit.

“We just need to be a team and play together as one. Also, we have to be better on the defensive end of the court. If you can play defense, you can play anywhere,” Martinez said.

Martinez sees Coal Ridge as having a solid and competitive squad in the WSL, and he says of the Longhorn rivals downvalley, “Roaring Fork will be good, and they always come to play.”

Basalt girls

Katheryne Fitzpatrick, a 2008 graduate of Basalt High School, takes over this season as head coach of a Lady Longhorns basketball program that is in search of a new identity.

It’s an identity that Fitzpatrick is hoping will be based on getting the tradition-rich school back on the winning track after several years of getting comfortable with occupancy in the lower tier of the Western Slope League.

“We haven’t really set any team goals at this point,” said Fitzpatrick, who played basketball and soccer for the ’Horns during her prep career. “We’re just taking things one week at a time and trying to improve. We certainly would like to move up in the league this year. Being competitive each night is probably our first goal.”

With guard Carsyn Knotts being the lone senior contributor on the Basalt roster, Fitzpatrick will need to rely heavily on a solid group of juniors, including Kate Schrock, Nicole Alvarado and Cintia Miramontes to get the Longhorn ship steadied and sailing back in the right direction.

“I would like to see more mental toughness out of the girls this year. We have been working on establishing a different mindset in practice,” Fitzpatrick said. “We are also going to try and play faster this season and be more aggressive on both ends of the floor.”

Fitzpatrick is excited about four freshmen who have moved up from the middle school ranks, and should help to provide some much-needed depth to the Basalt cause.

“We have four pretty strong freshmen that are a great addition to the team. They have been pushing the older girls hard in practice,” Fitzpatrick said.

With the experience of preseason games under their belt, it wouldn’t be out of the question for the young Basalt varsity to come together under Fitzpatrick, just in time for the start of the conference season in early January, making the Longhorns a much tougher opponent for all comers in 2017.