Aspen boys basketball holds on against Basalt, stays unbeaten in early season

Aspen High School boys basketball plays against Basalt on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Basalt. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

The Aspen High School boys basketball team stayed unbeaten on the young, albeit delayed, season with a 55-48 non-league win at rival Basalt on Tuesday. The Skiers’ 3-0 start is their best since the program’s famed 2009-10 campaign that ended with a 26-1 record.

“You see spurts of it. It’s a testament to their natural ability,” fifth-year AHS coach Alex Schrempf said. “We have all these goals we are measuring day-by-day and week-by-week and we keep making progress and stepping in the direction we want to and just try to live up to this potential we have.”

Aspen opened the season with a 51-44 win at Grand Junction, then followed with a 42-38 win at Gunnison. Tuesday’s win over the Longhorns was far from easy, although AHS led 14-7 after a quarter and looked far superior early on. But a lapse in the second quarter when BHS outscored them 11-4 made it 18-all at the halftime break.

Aspen High School boys basketball plays against Basalt on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Basalt. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

“We can have one of those and still have other guys show up,” Schrempf said of the bad quarter. “That’s the cool thing about this group. On any given night, we have plenty of guys that have the chance to show up and make plays for their teammates and create for each other and they are trying to do that.”

Aspen outscored Basalt 18-13 in the third quarter and 19-17 in the fourth to pull away for the seven-point win in front of what was a decent-sized crowd considering the COVID-19 limitations. The Roaring Fork School District now is allowing at least a few fans at home games.

Three different players finished in double figures for Aspen, led by Porter Lee’s 12 points. Taylor Akin had 11 and Braden Korpela had 10, while Ben Godomsky was another point back with nine.

For Basalt, which fell to 2-3 overall, it was another close loss after a slow start. The Longhorns’ previous two losses came against Glenwood Springs (50-42) and Grand Junction (38-34), with wins over Gunnison (52-50) and Roaring Fork (56-46).

Basalt finished a mere 4-15 overall last season and through five games this season is only a few plays here and there from having a winning record.

“We got to get over the hump,” second-year BHS coach Clint Hunter said. “We need to be a little more sharp offensively in order to start winning those games. I think we’ve made tremendous strides.”

Marlon Nelson had a huge game for BHS on Tuesday, scoring a game-high 16 points. Wish Moore chipped in 14 points while Alberto Alvarez scored 11 points.

Basalt, which next plays Saturday at home against Grand Valley, hopes to move on from the “moral victories” and start getting more actual wins in the win column.

“They are past that point, which is a really good thing,” Hunter said. “We are close to turning it around. I think we need to execute a little bit better and keep a little more focus throughout the 32 minutes on both ends and I think we’ll be OK.”

Aspen is scheduled to host Meeker on Thursday and Coal Ridge on Saturday. For the time being, no fans are permitted at AHS home games.

There was no varsity girls game on Tuesday between Aspen and Basalt as AHS does not have a varsity team this season.