Three area prep teams get ready for regionals
The Aspen High School boys’ basketball team will attempt to do what the Skiers have never done before – advance to state boys’ tournament play.
The Skiers are one game away from advancing to the Class 3A High School Basketball State Championships. To get there, they must defeat Del Norte on Saturday in the Class 3A Regionals.
“The goal of this team is to get to the state tournament,” AHS coach Steve Ketchum said. “It’s their dream.”
After finishing second in the 3A District Tournament last weekend in Grand Junction, the Skiers (16-6) will travel to Del Norte Saturday as the No. 11 seed.
Del Norte (16-5), which finished fourth at the state tournament last year, is the No. 6 seed. Game time is 4 p.m.
The winner will advance to state, the loser will go home and wait until next year.
The Skiers, off to their best season ever, will welcome back senior post player Andrew Smith, who has been sidelined the last three weeks with a severely sprained ankle.
Basalt boys back again
Basalt is back in the Regionals for the third consecutive year – and for the second straight year will host a state-qualifying event.
The Longhorns entered the district tourney as the fifth seed, but upset top-seeded Eagle Valley and then defeated Aspen in the championship game.
The fifth-seeded Longhorns (17-5) will host No. 12 seed Burlington (16-6) Friday at 7 p.m. at the Big House at BHS.
In each of the past two years, Basalt has suffered big losses in the Regionals. The Longhorns hope this year to finally get over the Regional hump and advance to the State Tournament, which begins Thursday, March 4, at Clune Arena at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
“We are very focused on what steps we need to take in order to get to the state tournament,” BHS coach Bill Crowley said. “We are focused for the future.”
The Basalt girls will be hitting the road Saturday. Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Rangely, in which the Panthers scored a putback as time expired to win the championship game at Districts, the BHS girls team will travel to fourth-seeded Frederick (20-1) Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Longhorns (13-7) enter the game as the No. 13 seed.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.