‘Horns headed to state’s Great Eight | PostIndependent.com

‘Horns headed to state’s Great Eight

BASALT – After Friday night’s game, Basalt Longhorn coach Debbie Alcorta was wondering why her players make it so difficult for themselves.

On Saturday afternoon, the coach, players and fans saw how easy it can be.

The Longhorns, with the home-court advantage and fifth seed in the regional rounds of the Class 3A girls state basketball tournament, had a tough battle against No. 28-seed Denver Christian before prevailing 56-50 Friday at the Big House. Then, in what should have been the tougher game, they cruised to a 56-31 victory over 12th-seed Kent Denver Saturday afternoon for the regional title.

The Longhorns, who won the consolation state championship last year, advance to the Great Eight round of the state tournament at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The first game is Thursday, with the semifinal and championship games on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

“We didn’t shoot well outside (Friday) night,” Alcorta said after Saturday’s win. “We came out on fire (Saturday).”

Basalt’s Mariah Mulcahy opened the scoring with a long-range bomb for a 3-0 lead. A traditional three-point play by teammate Lauren Redfern and another trey by Autumn Caughern gave the ‘Horns (21-3) a 9-1 lead.

Kent Denver (20-4) cut the lead to 9-5 by the end of the first quarter, but it was as close as the Sun Devils would get.

“We didn’t think Kent Denver could adjust to us the way Denver Christian did,” Alcorta said. “We just kept running and pushing.”

Mulcahy, Caughern and Redfern accounted for all of Basalt’s first-half points, and the trio essentially put the contest away in the second quarter.

Caughern, who led all scorers with 19 points, hit two more threes in the frame and was balanced nicely by Redfern’s work in the paint as the Longhorns took a 27-14 advantage into the intermission.

Redfern and Mulcahy each finished with 15 points in the contest.

“We were a little more ready to go and our heads were in the game,” said Caughern, comparing the Kent Denver game to Friday’s contest against Denver Christian.

The ‘Horns were able to clear their bench in the second half, getting every reserve on the floor, but there was little drop in performance.

Basalt didn’t allow the Sun Devils to score double figures in any quarter and outscored Kent Denver 18-9 in the fourth.

“You can’t ask for a much better performance than that,” Alcorta said. “I thought it was a great group effort.”

“Our bench was phenomenal,” she added. “It’s exciting when you have 10 go-to players.”

Kate Kourlis paced the Sun Devils with 12 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

On Friday night, Redfern was the main go-to player for the Longhorns, particularly early. Redfern notched 11 of her game-high 17 points in the first half to keep pesky Denver Christian (13-11) at bay.

But it almost wasn’t enough.

The Crusaders gained their first lead since the opening basket early in the fourth quarter with a traditional 3-pointer by Allie Schoolmeester that put Denver Christian up 42-41.

After losing, regaining and losing the lead again, the Crusaders knotted the score at 46-all with 4 minutes, 12 seconds left, but the ‘Horns went on a 10-2 run to close out the first-round contest.

Caughern, who had five points in the final 4 minutes, finished with 14 points and Mulcahy reached double figures with 11 points.

Kiley Gill and Jenn Simpson each scored 12 to pace the Crusaders.

Saturday – Basalt 56, Kent Denver

Kent Denver 5 9 8 9-31

Basalt 9 18 11 18-56

KENT DENVER – Kate Kourlis 5 2-4 12, Jessica Fox 0 2-2 2, Hailey Marsh 0 0-0 0, Jana Berglund 0 0-0 0, Jennifer Moore 3 0-0 7, Cambrie Nelson 0 3-4 3, Kate Jankovsky 0 0-0 0, Kiki Bro 0 3-4 3, Atumn Sanders 1 0-0 2, Bre Tomlin 0 2-4 2, Rebecca Macari 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 12-18 31.

BASALT – Ashley Eaton 0 0-0 0, Makenzie Holmes 0 0-0 0, Brittany Pollock 1 2-2 4, Autumn Caughern 5 5-5 19, Deanna Spracher 0 2-4 2, Lindsey Soucie 0 1-2 1, March Thompson 0 0-0 0, Mariah Mulcahy 6 0-5 15, Rochelle Moebius 0 0-0 0, Amanda Schmidtt 0 0-2 0, Allison Brummett 0 0-0 0, Lauren Redfern 6 3-5 15. Totals 18 13-23 56.

3-pointers – Moore; Caughern 4, Mulcahy 3. Total fouls – KD 21, Basalt 16. Fouled out – Kourlis. Technicals – none.

Friday – Basalt 56, Denver Christian 50

Denver Christian 11 16 10 13-50

Basalt 15 15 9 17-56

DENVER CHRISTIAN – Kiley Gill 5 0-2 12, Chrissy West 0 0-0 0, Kelsie Dennoy 2 0-0 4, Allie Schoolmeester 4 1-1 9, Jenn Simpson 4 4-4 12, Lindsay Dykstra 4 0-0 8, Kristi Fote 0 0-0 0, Katie Rosendale 2 1-2 15. Totals 21 6-9 50.

BASALT – Ashley Eaton 0 0-0 0, Makenzie Holmes 1 0-0 2, Brittany Pollock 1 1-2 3, Autumn Caughern 4 3-4 14, Deanna Spracher 1 2-2 4, March Thompson 0 0-0 0, Rochelle 2 1-2 5, Lauren Redfern 6 5-10 17. Totals 18 16-26 56.

3-pointers – Gill 2; Caughern 3, Mulcahy. Total fouls – DC 20, Basalt 12. Fouled out – Dennoy. Technicals – none.

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