AHS boys go 1-2 at Steamboat | AspenTimes.com

AHS boys go 1-2 at Steamboat

Slow starts and unproductive offensive play plagued Aspen High’s boys basketball team over the weekend at the Steamboat Springs Invitational Tournament over the weekend.

“It was a tough weekend for us,” said Skiers head basketball coach Steve Ketchum. “We’re just getting off to a really slow start in games, and on the offensive end we struggled severely ” we couldn’t get the ball in the basket.”

Aspen, which competes in Class 3A, played three games in three days, resulting in one victory and two losses

“We played some bigger, very talented 4A schools,” Ketchum said.

On Thursday, the opening night of the tournament, the Skiers lost to defending tournament champions Steamboat, 53-32.

“We ran into a buzz saw against Steamboat,” Ketchum said. “We really, really struggled.

“That was the theme for the weekend.”

Adding insult to injury, Aspen scored only two points in the first quarter against Steamboat.

“That’s embarrassing,” Ketchum said.

But the Skiers bounced back Friday, beating Ridgeview Academy, a Class 3A team which competes in the Denver Metro league, 40-32. Ketchum said his team stepped up and played great defense in the contest, and Aspen’s Brock Strasbourger, a junior, and Moss Schermerhorn, a senior captain, had points in the double digits.

Ketchum said David Porter, a junior who recently moved to Aspen from Chicago, had a break-out game.

“He really played great in the stretch,” Ketchum said. “He played great at both ends of the court.”

Aspen ran into another wall Saturday, losing to 4A Conifer, 57-42. Down by 20 points at the half, Ketchum said his team made a good comeback effort in the second half, but it was too little too late.

“We don’t have the skill level and athletic ability we’ve had in years past,” Ketchum said. “If this team gets down by 15 or 20 points, it would pretty much take a miracle to come back.”

Ketchum said his squad is young and inexperienced and lacking the basic fundamentals at this early point of the season. Even the easy, sure baskets aren’t coming, he said.

“Right now our kids are really lacking confidence in their own abilities,” he said. “We’re struggling with just passing and catching, the fundamentals. When we get a layup or wide-open shot, we’re not making it, and then we get to the free-throw line and we’re missing free throws.”

The Skiers have only one returning starter in Schermerhorn, but Ketchum is optimistic that the team can overcome its inexperience and compete in Western Slope league play.

“There is not an area we cannot improve on, the potential is unlimited,” Ketchum said. “The kids have good team chemistry, and we’re being patient with them, we believe in them, we see progress and improvement.

“They don’t quit, they fight hard, and there’s a lot of fight left in the dog.”

Aspen opens league play at home against Cedaredge Thursday night, beginning a long road that Ketchum hopes will lead to the playoffs.

“By playoff time in February, we’re going to be a much more confident scoring team,” he said. “The pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow.”

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