Preps: Aspen boys basketball back in postseason as defending champ; BHS in |

Preps: Aspen boys basketball back in postseason as defending champ; BHS in

Aspen High School sophomore Edgar Garcia makes a pass against Summit on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, inside the AHS gymnasium. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Aspen High School boys basketball team is back in the postseason, a year after making its historic run to the state championship.

In the Class 4A state tournament announced Sunday by CHSAA, the Skiers were given the No. 26 seed in the 32-team field and will play at No. 7 Eaton (18-5) in the first round at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The winner will face either No. 10 Sterling (17-6) or No. 23 The Classical Academy (15-8) in the round of 16.

Aspen went a perfect 27-0 last winter, winning the 3A state championship, a first for the program. The Skiers beat Sterling in the semifinals a year ago, 49-44, before topping Centauri in the final, 50-40.

With the addition of a new 6A classification this season, AHS was moved up to 4A, a tall task considering the team lost 10 seniors from its championship roster.

After a 5-5 start to the season, the Skiers won 10 of 11 games, its recent five-game win streak being snapped in the regular-season finale, a 42-41 loss at Coal Ridge on Friday. Aspen finished third in league play, behind runner-up Coal Ridge and league champion Steamboat Springs.

Finishing fourth in league was Basalt (11-12), which sneaks into the 4A postseason as the No. 30 seed and will play at No. 3 Alamosa (19-3) in the first round on Wednesday evening.

Kent Denver is the tournament’s No. 1 seed, while No. 2 is Resurrection Christian. Despite being league champion, Steamboat Springs is only the 18 seed and Coal Ridge is No. 24.

On the girls’ side of the 4A bracket, Basalt (12-11) made it in as the No. 27 seed and will play Tuesday night at No. 6 Eaton (17-6), making the trip about 24 hours before the AHS boys do. The winner Tuesday plays either No. 11 Peak to Peak (16-7) or No. 22 Arrupe Jesuit (17-6) in the second round.

The Aspen girls (0-23), playing varsity in 3A this season after a two-year, JV-only break, take on Grand Valley (14-5) on Tuesday in the district tournament. The Cardinals had little issue with the Skiers in their two regular-season meetings.

Skiers at state swimming

The Aspen High School girls swim team concluded its season recently at the Class 3A state championship meet in Thornton, finishing 23rd as a team. Evergreen rolled to its fifth straight state championship. Only Aspen, in 3A’s inaugural season in 2017, and Longmont in 2018 have won the 3A girls swimming title other than Evergreen.

AHS senior Lilly Huggard led the way for the Skiers. She finished third in the 100-yard backstroke and sixth in the 200-yard IM.

Glenwood Springs junior Amelie Ogilby won the 500-yard freestyle, helping the Demons finished third as a team (310 points), behind runner-up Discovery Canyon (333) and Evergreen (443).

Skiers at state skiing

The Aspen High School girls ski team finished fourth at the state championships last week, while the AHS boys ended up 14th overall.

The Aspen girls led the team standings after the first of two days of skiing, thanks largely to a 1-2 finish in the giant slalom from senior Stella Sherlock, the winner, and senior Cate Simpson in second. Junior Sienna Hendrickson (seventh) and senior Chloe Smith (ninth) also had top-10 GS finishes.

The next day in slalom, Hendrickson was third and Smith 10th overall. The Alpine events were held at Copper Mountain.

In Nordic, Aspen’s best results came from sophomore Julia Diaz and senior Michaela Kenny, who finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in the skate race at the Frisco Nordic Center. Kenny also finished 10th in the classic race, while Diaz was 12th.

The girls team winner was Battle Mountain with 620 points. The Huskies won the championship for the third time in five years. Middle Park was second (606), Steamboat was third (605) and Aspen fourth (601).

Summit won the boys team title for a second straight year with 624 points, while Battle Mountain was second with 604 points.

Dancing no more

Aspen High School dance coach Maddy Miller recently announced she was stepping down from her post, where she’s guided the program to a pair of state championships as well as a national championship in four seasons.

“I have made the decision to end my coaching career and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out,” Miller wrote on social media. “Thank you to everyone who has supported me and this team! I can’t wait to see the future of this incredible program! Forever a Skier!”

Miller, a former Denver Nuggets dancer, led AHS to its first state title in her first season in December 2019. The Skiers then won again in December 2021 before their surprising run to a national championship this winter.