No. 5 " Year of change, success for ‘Horn girls hoops |

No. 5 " Year of change, success for ‘Horn girls hoops

The Basalt Longhorns girls basketball team had a busy year.

The Longhorns made a run at the Class 3A state title, had a coach dismissed, a new coach hired and saw their top returning player transfer out of state for her senior year in 2003.

Basalt lost just one Western Slope League game during the 2002-2003, a 48-42 defeat to Aspen in mid-January. Following the loss, the Longhorns won 15 straight games ” a span that included the WSL title, the District 2 crown and a spot in the state tournament semifinal game against top-seed Bishop Machebeuf.

Basalt led the Buffaloes 40-37 with less than five minutes remaining in the semifinal contest, but couldn’t find the basket for the remainder of the game. Trailing 41-40 in the final minute, Basalt’s Mariah Mulcahy had a chance to even the game, but missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw and the Longhorns had to settle for a spot in the third-place game.

The Longhorns, drained from the semifinal match, fell 66-60 to La Junta in the third-place game, improving one place from their fifth-place finish in 2002.

Autumn Caughern, who transferred out of state prior to the 2003-04 season, finished the season second in scoring in Class 3A with an 18.5 points-per-game average. She was also a Rocky Mountain News nominee for Class 3A player of the year. Along with Caughern, Mulcahy and Lauren Redfern earned all-league honors.

Over the summer head coach Debbie Alcorta, who had led the Longhorns to the state tournament in both of her two years at the helm of the program, was fired after an alleged drunken driving arrest at a state patrol checkpoint in El Jebel.

Alcorta was replaced prior to the 2003-04 season with boys assistant coach Terry Kappeli. Despite the departure of Caughern and Alcorta, the Basalt hasn’t missed a beat. The Longhorns are 4-2 so far this season. They and have won their last four games, including a 62-51 victory over rival and league favorite Roaring Fork.

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