Aspen High boys basketball rolls over Lake County to end losing streak

The Aspen High School boys basketball team thought the losing streak had been snapped last week until a miracle shot by Middle Park kept it going. Friday against Lake County, the Skiers made sure that opportunity never came for the visitors inside the AHS gymnasium.

“Last Saturday was a needed one, and that was a heartbreaker, too, because we battled back and then we lost on that buzzer-beater,” Aspen coach Alex Schrempf said. “So we are fighting all these old habits that are kind of ingrained in us and really trying to convince these guys to have confidence to slow things down and really just protect the ball and be strong with it. We started doing that today.”

Aspen dominated the final three quarters against Lake County on Friday, cruising to a 62-35 win. The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Skiers, now 2-8 overall, dating back to a 50-33 season-opening win over Soroco on Dec. 7 in Meeker.

Lake County fell to 1-9 overall.

“We are a good team, but we haven’t been able to put the team chemistry part together,” Aspen senior Dillon Leasure said. “I think today was really the first time we’ve done that.”

It wasn’t all smooth for the Skiers. Lake County jumped out to an 11-4 lead midway through the first quarter before Aspen battled back and trailed only 14-13 after a quarter.

AHS took its first lead at 17-15 in the second quarter and never trailed again. The Skiers led 29-21 at halftime.

“We started talking a little bit more on defense,” Leasure said. “The bench got a little bit more hyped up, kind of motivating everybody to go hard. And I think that was a huge help.”

The second half was complete dominance by Aspen. The Skiers outscored Lake County 11-7 in the third quarter and 22-7 in the fourth quarter to eventually win by 27 points.

Nick Wilson led Aspen with 13 points.

“The challenge for these boys this year has been learning what it means to move in sync as a team,” Schrempf said. “Our record isn’t where we want it to be, and I don’t think it’s indicative of how good these guys can play when they play well together. They needed one, and they deserved one. And they deserve a lot more.”

Aspen has a quick turnaround with Moffat County coming to the AHS gymnasium for a 4 p.m. game Saturday. AHS and Moffat (7-4) played in the first game of 2018, a 59-37 win for the Bulldogs at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The Skiers believe the rematch should end a bit differently.

“We showed up against them in Denver like we were still in bed. We came out on the court asleep,” Schrempf said. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to have a team that beat you handily and come back to your gym and play and expect to see the same group. I think they’ve made continuous improvements since the beginning of the season.”

The Aspen High girls basketball team lost 47-38 to Lake County on Friday to fall to 1-9 overall. They’ll host Moffat County at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Aspen.