Longhorns fall in Colorado Springs
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
This one will hurt for a while.
Such was the sentiment shared by Basalt co-head coach Brent Hayes after Saturday’s visit to Colorado Springs. The 11th-seeded Longhorns dominated for extended stretches against No. 6 St. Mary’s in 3A state playoff second-round action, but a late defensive breakdown proved costly in a 1-0, season-ending loss.
“At least today, we were the better team. That’s frustrating,” Hayes said. “We had them on the ropes. They were getting a little frantic and starting to yell at each other. … We just thought it was a matter of time [until we scored].”
Hayes estimated that Basalt (11-4-1) controlled the game for 60 of 80 minutes Saturday. Still, the high-powered Longhorns, who routed Salida, 5-0, in Wednesday’s opening round, could not produce a goal.
The Pirates (10-5-2) made one of their rare scoring chances count with about 15 minutes remaining in the second half. St. Mary’s junior Kyle McKenna found some space about 20 yards from net and, when no defenders closed, he ripped a strong shot that clipped the net.
“Two guys were standing there watching him bring the ball down. I was yelling, ‘Get up! You’ve got to mark up!'” Hayes said. “Nobody got in his face to make him adjust his shot.
“It was such a good shot. [Goalkeeper] Scott [Riggins] had no chance. … You can’t take that away from them.”
While they were momentarily stunned, the Longhorns did not hang their heads, Hayes said.
“They didn’t quit, to their credit. they still had a chance,” added the coach, whose squad had been unbeaten on the road this fall. “We had lots of chances, equal chances on goal. … We couldn’t adjust to the speed of the turf and a big wind was pushing through balls down in the second half. We had about six breaks, and the ball was pushed a little past the runner each time.”
Consequently, Basalt was held scoreless for just the third time this season and missed out on a fourth-straight trip to the quarterfinals.
Hayes hopes the Western Slope champions did quiet some skeptics, however.
“I feel pretty disrespected by [getting the] 11th seed. … The Salida coach told a couple people we were going to get crushed. … Nobody gave us a chance,” he said. “We were just one bad play away from pulling this out.
“The last couple games gave us confidence. I’ve always said that we can play anybody in the state. … This will be good for us going forward. We’re such a young team.”
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