Team wins for Terral

Eben Harrell
Tim Terral bows his head during a moment of silence behind his son Alex's retired jersey Friday night before the Aspen High School basketball game at the Skierdome. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

In a game in which the most important player was present only in memory, and in an old jersey draped over an empty chair, senior Joe Turner scored 16 points to lead Aspen to a 57-39 win over West Grand High School.Friday night was opening night for the Skiers, the night Alex Terral would have started his first game as a senior. Terral’s number was featured as Aspen’s starting lineup took the floor, but this year only as a memorial.The jersey, a large No. 4 that would have hung from Terral’s 6-foot-7 frame this year, was draped instead on a chair at the end of the bench. Each player gave it a high-five as he took the floor.Terral, who started as a junior on last year’s team, died in a rollover car crash in June.”Number 4 has a spot reserved for him on our bench,” head coach Steve Ketchum told the crowd before tipoff.

Alex’s father, Tim Terral, a full-time assistant on last year’s team, joined the bench Friday night as the team dedicated the season in memory of his son.”I felt like I had to be here,” Tim Terral said. “I’ll help the team out when I can. But it’s tough. I probably won’t travel with the team. I’m just too tired.”After the brief dedication ceremony, Aspen channeled it’s energy into the game at hand, jumping out to a 13-4 lead in the opening four minutes.West Grand opened with a three-two zone, and after a nervy first possession, the Skiers stretched the zone with a series of perimeter passes to set up Luke Gosda for a season-opening three-pointer. Another three-point basket soon followed, this time when Turner found an opening in transition off a pass from senior point guard Brock Strasbourger.Despite committing several turnovers in the opening quarter, Strasbourger was Aspen’s offensive catalyst in the first half, pushing the ball in transition against a smaller and slower team. When West Grand pulled within three points early in the second quarter, Aspen went on a 10-1 run, with all but two points scored in transition. After the game, Strasbourger said fast-break points will be a focus throughout the season.

“We’re one of the fastest teams in the league, if not the state. We don’t like to play in the half-court unless we have to,” Strasbourger said.Going into the second half up 32-24, the Skiers were never again seriously challenged. Eight players scored for Aspen. Turner overcame early foul trouble to finish with a game-high 16 points. Senior Hardy Andersen had nine points, and four Skiers finished with six points.For West Grand, Tyler Music was the high scorer with 10 points.”I knew what Joe [Turner] could do,” Ketchum said after the game. “He’s filled out since last year. If he keeps working hard he could be a big surprise in our league.”After the postgame celebration, Aspen’s players again turned their thoughts to Alex Terral.

Asked what inspired his career-high point total, Turner replied, “Alex. All of us are giving everything we’ve got this season. Every time we get tired or discouraged we think how much he would want to be playing.”He’ll be with us all season.”Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is


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