Coal Ridge hoops sweeps Basalt in return from holiday break
Post Independent contributor
The Coal Ridge girls overcame some listless play and a long scoring dry spell in the opening quarter of Wednesday night’s Western Slope League opener with Basalt to post a 51-35 homecourt victory to open conference play in 2019.
Two free throws by junior guard Taylor Roberts in the opening 8 minutes of play was all of the offense the Titans could muster, as they fell behind the Longhorns by a 7-2 count after one quarter.
Longhorn guard Emma Day hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, and a short jumper by Catherine Vasquez followed for Basalt, helping the Longhorns jump out to a 5-0 advantage. A short bank shot by junior Taylor Glen rounded out Basalt’s early scoring tally.
Veteran Coal Ridge coach Clyde Morgan must have provided his team with the perfect words of wisdom entering the second quarter as the Titans looked like an energetic and focused team when they hit the court following the brief break.
“Our rhythm was off early on coming out of (winter) vacation,” said Morgan. “They started to settle down and play ball like we know we can play. It took awhile to get going, though.”
A 12-0 scoring run is what the Titans put on Basalt to quickly take command of the contest. Junior forward Lyanna Nevarez provided much of the needed spark with her inside play. Nevarez, along with Roberts, sophomore post Taylor Wiescamp, and senior point guard Adriana Vargas, all notched baskets or free throws as Coal Ridge seized a lead they would never relinquish. Nevarez went on to score 7 of the Titans 16 points in the quarter as Coal Ridge took an 18-13 lead into the locker room at the half.
Coal Ridge built on its established momentum as they opened the third quarter with baskets by Vargas and senior guard Kashley Morgan. Basalt stayed within shouting distance on a 3-pointer from freshman Lexiss Lowe, and a pair of baskets by both Delaney Card and Zoe Vozick.
Senior guard Alyssa Wenzel then responded by hitting a jumper, and Vargas notched a 3-pointer to put the Titans up 31-24.
Forced to play catch up in the fourth quarter, Lowe hit an inside basket for Basalt to cut the Titans’ lead to 5 points, but Nevarez quickly righted Coal Ridge with a mid-range score of her own. Wenzel followed up with her second basket of the night to give the Titans a cushion that the Longhorns couldn’t overcome.
Vargas led the Titans with 17 points and 11 steals in the win, while Nevarez poured in 11 points, and Wiescamp contributed 8 points and 14 rebounds. Vozick led Basalt with 9 points.
Coal Ridge (7-3, 1-0 3A WSL) travels to Gunnison Saturday afternoon for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff with the Cowboys.
Coal Ridge 69, Basalt 41
As they often do, the Coal Ridge boys — ranked No. 2 in 3A by MaxPreps — came out of the gates quickly, running to a 34-19 lead at intermission and never looked back in defeating the Basalt Longhorns 69-41 to open defense of their 3A WSL title from last season.
Senior post Kevin DiMarco had 19 points, including three dunks in the first half alone as the Titans dominated down low in the paint to take command of the game early. Senior point guard Jan Hernandez had 8 points of his own before halftime as the Coal Ridge defensive pressure and inside size advantage forced multiple Longhorn turnovers and limited the visitors to one shot on most trips down the court.
Basalt got some early scoring help from junior Brian Granados, who tallied a couple of buckets to go along with a 3-pointer from senior Jakob Reardon as the Longhorns trailed just 18-12 early. But Hernandez opened the second quarter exactly as he opened the game, driving to the basket for a layup to put the Longhorns on their heels.
Hernandez then scored a layup off a nice bounce pass from sophomore Moises Contreras to put the Titans up 29-12, completing an 11-0 run that blew the game wide open.
Senior Jesus Camunez opened the second half with a 3-pointer, and with DiMarco roaming the painted area and scoring almost at will, Coal Ridge opened up a 57-29 lead after three quarters, allowing Titans head coach Paul Harvey to substitute liberally in the final quarter of play.
“We started off with good defense and some nice assisted baskets,” said Harvey. “We didn’t have a real big run tonight, but we were able to put together a couple smaller runs to gain the lead.”
DiMarco led Coal Ridge in the scoring column with 25 points on the night. Hernandez contributed 14 points. Kevyn Flores added 7 points.
Still unbeaten at 10-0, 1-0 3A WSL, the Titans travel to face Gunnison at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
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