Aspen boys basketball continues to lay the foundation in Year 4 under Schrempf
Former coach Steve Ketchum once told Alex Schrempf it would take about four seasons to get the program going. Now entering his fourth season as the coach of the Aspen High School boys basketball team, Schrempf realizes the truth in that and is hoping the Skiers can take that next step in getting back to the greatness it showed under Ketchum not that long ago.
“This is the first year where I haven’t felt like I was starting from square one again,” Schrempf said. “There is never a knock on years past. We’ve loved our groups and we’ve taken steps every year to keep growing from an organizational standpoint. It’s just finding what more can we do to provide value to this experience? What more can we do as a staff each year to improve on what we are emphasizing?”
Aspen opened its season Tuesday night at Rifle, losing 52-33. The Skiers haven’t had a winning season since going 19-5 in Ketchum’s final season in 2013-14. They went 7-14 last winter in Schrempf’s third season.
But there may be something to this team that could help turn the tide once again.
“We got kids that are stoked about basketball and want to get better at it,” Schrempf said. “You can feel it in the gym. All three coaching staffs have said it. These kids are together, they are listening, they are running to everything, working hard and they are making each other better.”
The Skiers said goodbye to a solid senior class last season, led by longtime starting point guard Noah Hollander. But the senior class back for the 2019-20 season isn’t too shabby, either. Jonathan Woodrow leads that group, along with big man Aidan Ledingham. Those two are likely to be the centerpieces for the team as the season goes along.
“He’s put in a lot of work. He’s led by example for four years,” Schrempf said of Woodrow, a football standout who has played varsity basketball since his freshman season. “He’s always been a kid that does it, plus some. He gives us that plus 5%, which is something we talk about all the time. He always goes a little bit more. He deserves a great, fun year.”
Sloan Hamill, Jon Haisfield and Jack Seamans are other seniors expected to play a big role for the Skiers this winter. Juniors Liam Farrey and Luke Hollander, Noah’s younger brother, will see a bigger role. And watch out for sophomore Braden Korpela, who Schrempf highlighted as being one of the younger players who could emerge over the coming months.
The key, as always, will be getting the team to play together as one.
“At the end of the day, I’ve never really been a heavy X’s and O’s coach. We want to teach them how to play basketball, not how to run plays. And they are getting there,” Schrempf said. “We have a great group of seniors who are really leading by example, and that makes it a whole lot easier.”
With Tuesday’s loss against Rifle starting things off, the Skiers next are scheduled to play Thursday at Meeker’s annual tournament. AHS is slated to play Mancos at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and will play either Soroco or potentially Rifle again Friday. Aspen has one home game on tap before the holiday break, that being a Dec. 19 game against Vail Christian.
“They are really about each other and there is not a selfish bone in their bodies, which is something we are actually trying to improve on,” Schrempf joked of his players. “We need them to be a little selfish at times. But they are great leaders and having a head on some shoulders of a group of underclassmen that are just really enthused about basketball is really exciting. These kids are putting in a lot of extra time.”
BASALT GIRLS BASKETBALL GAME FRIDAY CANCELED
The Basalt High School girls basketball team’s home opener against South Park on Friday night has been canceled due to a winter storm expected to hit the state later in the week.
The Longhorns (1-2) aren’t scheduled to compete again until going to Rifle on Dec. 20, their final game before the holiday break.
The Basalt boys basketball team is scheduled to play at a tournament hosted by Weld Central starting Thursday.