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Colbert’s Prep Playbook: Teams hoping to close out 2019 with one more win

Aspen High School hockey plays against Crested Butte on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, at Lewis Ice Arena in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
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As quickly as the winter prep season got here, we’re about to bid adieu to it for a couple of weeks. Aspen and Basalt each have a few games of note this week before the holiday break, games that are plenty important despite coming so early in the season.

HOCKEY

Aspen hockey got its first win Saturday, beating Crested Butte, 5-4. It’s been a rocky 1-2 start for the Skiers, who have allowed 15 combined goals through those three games. But they have a chance here before the break to get a statement win. AHS hosts Steamboat Springs at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Lewis Ice Arena in a league game. The Sailors (1-2) also split a two-game series with Crested Butte before a 6-3 loss to Summit last week. SSHS only won five games a season ago, but got to double-digit wins the three years prior. Whoever wins Friday is going to be feeling a lot better about themselves than the loser.

BASKETBALL

Kudos to the Aspen boys basketball team for going 2-1 at the Meeker tournament this past weekend. After losses to Rifle (52-33) and Mancos (67-63) to open the season, the Skiers turned around to dismantle Soroco (65-35) and Lotus (58-39) to reach .500. Next up, AHS will host Class 2A Vail Christian at 7 p.m. Thursday in its home opener. The Saints are 3-0 and also cruised over Soroco by a similar score this season.

A win would mean a three-game win streak for Aspen, something it never did all of last season. You have to go back to the 2016-17 season, the first under coach Alex Schrempf, since the Skiers have put together a significant win streak. They actually won four straight at one point that season.

Thursday’s game also includes a girls’ contest at 5:30 p.m. The AHS girls didn’t get to play Saturday at Hotchkiss, opting not to go because of the weather. They are still sitting with that lone win over Dolores. I’m expecting two competitive games Thursday.

The Basalt basketball teams are off until going to Rifle on Friday. The BHS boys are 1-5, while the girls are 1-2 and haven’t played since Dec. 7. The Bears should provide a tough opponent for both teams this week, although winnable at the same time. We’ll finally get to see Basalt in person at home on the other side of the break.

WRESTLING

It seems the Basalt wrestling team had a great weekend down in Delta, one of the top early-season tournaments in the state. Ruben Samuelson (170 pounds) and Ernesto Lopez (heavyweight) both won their respective brackets. According to the team, this is the first time a BHS wrestler has won at the Delta tournament since at least 2003. The Longhorns are scheduled to close out 2019 with two days of wrestling at West Grand starting Friday.

SWIMMING

Aspen girls swimming competed over the weekend at the Southwest Conference relay meet in Grand Junction. Again, with a small roster, AHS really didn’t factor into the team standings, and they are unlikely to this season. The individual talent is certainly there, and they could push for some individual state titles later this winter. The Skiers look to be done competing here in 2019. They’ll return Jan. 10 with a trip to Summit. AHS hosts its lone home meet of the season Jan. 11.

SKIING

Just a friendly reminder that we do ski here in Aspen, and AHS has a really good team. The high school ski season will get underway in January, with the Aspen boys looking to again defend its state championship, while the girls are hopeful to return to the top after taking second last season.

Note: This is my final Prep Playbook column of 2019. It’ll return in January.

acolbert@aspentimes.com


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