Aspen boys basketball blows by Vail Mountain, improves to 11-1 overall |

Aspen boys basketball blows by Vail Mountain, improves to 11-1 overall

Aspen High School’s Braden Korpela, left, goes up for a shot as the boys basketball team plays against Vail Mountain School on Monday, March 1, 2021, inside the AHS gymnasium. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

A season ago, the Aspen High School boys basketball team showed signs of greatness, notably during a strong run to finish out the year. This winter’s squad has learned to carry that swag into games and use it to torch opponents, which could make them a dangerous team as the postseason gets near.

“We’ve been opening up really strong,” AHS coach Alex Schrempf said. “We are learning how to sustain it. We are learning how to flank in the next rotation and boost it.”

The Skiers’ latest victim was Vail Mountain School on Monday, a 67-47 non-league rout inside the AHS gymnasium. It was the second time the teams had played in less than a week, as AHS also won in Vail last Tuesday, 40-28.

The rematch was never much of a contest, with Aspen jumping out to a 14-0 lead that became 21-4 after a quarter. The Gore Rangers kept it fairly competitive from there, but still trailed 34-18 at halftime and 56-32 after three quarters.

“We are working together and working for each other rather than working for ourselves, playing team basketball,” AHS senior Lars Pomeroy said. “We are feeling confident. We are 11-1, so we definitely have some good wins under our belt. But we don’t want to get too confident, obviously. We want to keep our heads grounded.”

Braden Korpela led the Skiers with 17 points, followed by Porter Lee with 11 points. Pomeroy was third in scoring with eight points, one of 11 players to record at least two points in the game for Aspen.

The Skiers have now won seven straight games and sit with only a single loss on the season. Vail Mountain dropped to 5-3 overall.

“It’s a challenge of good teams to go up early and then be able to still stay on that,” Schrempf said. “But that’s the beautifully human aspect of basketball. I think we grew through it. It was awesome to see everyone on the bench go get on the book and score some points. We just got to keep growing.”

Aspen (11-1 overall) has at least one game left on its schedule, the league finale on Saturday at home against Moffat County. AHS remains tied atop the Class 3A Western Slope League standings at 5-1 in league play with Coal Ridge, although the Titans won the head-to-head matchup on Feb. 13 in Aspen, 57-47. Coal Ridge will close out league play Saturday against Roaring Fork (4-6, 2-3 WSL).

Of note, the Skiers are trying to add another home game, tentatively scheduled for Thursday against Valor Christian (8-3), a strong Class 5A team. That game wasn’t confirmed as of Monday night, but would provide a good test for the Skiers entering postseason play if it happens.

The state playoff brackets are expected out Monday, with Aspen in a good position to host a playoff game next week.

“That would be great,” Pomeroy said of having some of the postseason go through Aspen. “It would be the first time in a while we’ve hosted a playoff game, so it would be really cool to host one, especially my senior year. That would be super sweet.”

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