Aspen basketball finds consistency in rout of Roaring Fork, BHS girls win again
Finding consistency from start to finish continues to be a major teaching point for Aspen High School boys basketball coach Alex Schrempf. Whether those lessons stick long term remains to be seen, but the players certainly scored high marks in that regard during Thursday’s 56-26 rout of Roaring Fork inside the AHS gymnasium.
“Definitely a big step forward in how we play together and how we sustain four quarters of basketball. That’s been a big thing for us,” Schrempf said. “The preparation and the togetherness, those are the two big points of emphasis and the guys, despite any runs or slumps that we endure, our big thing is we need to expect our consistency. We need to be comfortable in that. That should be our baseline.”
The 30-point margin was the largest for the Skiers in a win this season and the largest since a 70-35 postseason win over Cedaredge last February. Aspen left little to doubt from the start, racing out to a 20-8 lead after a quarter and a 33-12 lead by halftime.
Shae Korpela led Aspen with 18 points while Porter Lee finished with 11 points. Lee provided the biggest highlight of the game with his third quarter, breakaway dunk that brought the bench, and the few fans allowed to attend, to their feet. The coaches believe it to be one of the first legitimate dunks by an AHS player at home since Schrempf took over ahead of the 2016-17 season.
“It’s just fun for them,” Schrempf said of Lee’s slam. “Dunks aren’t a common thing. They all spend so much time working on their vert and their jumping. It’s another example of hard work paying off.”
The game was well in hand by the time Lee threw down in the third quarter, and that’s what really mattered. The Skiers lost for the first and only time this season last Saturday, 57-47 at home against Coal Ridge, but have bounced back with wins over Delta (65-53 on Tuesday) and now Roaring Fork.
“I couldn’t be more proud that these guys are responding so well,” Schrempf said. “It was really great for us to be able to show up and stay engaged, stay focused, and stay relatively baseline. We didn’t get too high, we didn’t get too low.”
The Rams fell to 3-4 overall with the non-league loss. The teams will play each other again on Feb. 27 in Carbondale in their lone league contest.
Aspen improved to 6-1 overall (2-1 in Class 3A Western Slope League play) with a league game coming up Saturday at Grand Valley. Because of the season’s late start due to the pandemic, there are fewer games to be played this season and the finish is coming up quickly. Considering the Skiers had a top-five RPI in the classification entering Thursday’s game, their postseason hopes remain high as the season hits the homestretch.
“Every game is so important. That’s why our guys took Saturday last weekend pretty tough, because every game is on a pedestal,” Schrempf said of the Coal Ridge loss. “Let’s act like we can expect this from ourselves, and I think that’s going to help us take that next step in confidence. Roaring Fork has some good players and we know we see them again in nine days and we are going to have to show up again. If we don’t, then that’s going to be another challenge. But that’s every game this season.”
BASALT GIRLS BEAT EAGLE VALLEY, STAY UNBEATEN
The Basalt High School girls basketball team tossed aside another opponent on Thursday, winning 48-30 at home against Eagle Valley to remain unbeaten.
The Longhorns saw 11 of 12 players get in the scoring column, led by Kaitlin Boothe’s 11 points, and this despite having six stitches in her hand. Gracie Reardon had nine points and Riley Dolan had eight points.
Eagle Valley fell to 1-7 overall after Thursday’s non-league loss. Basalt improved to 8-0 overall and next travels to Coal Ridge on Saturday. The Titans are 5-2 overall but both losses have come in WSL play (to Moffat and Grand Valley), while BHS is 3-0 in league games. BHS, Moffat and Delta look to be the top challengers for the WSL title on the girls’ side.
The Basalt boys did not play Thursday after their game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Eagle Valley program. BHS (4-3 overall, 2-0 WSL) will also play Coal Ridge on Saturday in New Castle in what will be a critical league contest.
Members of the valley’s Jewish community gathered at the Albright Pavilion at Aspen Meadows Thursday for their second annual menorah lighting ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge the first day of Hanukkah.