Aspen boys win final games at the Skierdome
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The Aspen High boys basketball team moved into the 3A Western Slope League’s second-place spot after two weekend wins in what could have been the last games played in the Skierdome.
Friday was Senior Night, and Aspen honored seniors Jeff Brence and the injured Shay Stutsman before routing troubled Olathe (now 1-14 overall) 78-56. Brence, last season’s 3A Western Slope League player of the year and a four-year letterman, led both teams with 24 points.
Games next year will be played in a new facility. The Skierdome will be used as a backup gym.
“It was a good way to finish in front of our home crowd,” AHS coach Steve Ketchum said.
Junior point guard Nick Farrell racked up 12 points in the first quarter Friday, helping Aspen to an early 24-10 lead. The Skiers were up 39-17 at halftime, and Ketchum cleared his bench to allow everyone to spend some time on the court.
Farrell ended up with 21 points while Zac Paris hit five three’s for all 15 of his points. Phil Salazar added 11. Teammate Josh Lackey, who suffered a broken nose in practice last month, made his comeback Friday with five points.
On Saturday, AHS traveled to Paonia for a 71-41 win. Ketchum called his team’s competition “a young hot team, but no superstars,” making them a tough opponent to guard.
Farrell collected a triple double Saturday with 20 points (including four three-pointers), 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
“That’s all-state material right there,” Ketchum said.
Brence followed with 16 points, Lackey contributed 14, and Brett Mufson scored nine points and had six assists – “Probably a season high,” Ketchum said.
“And I was pleased – we had a season-low in turnovers with eight on the night against a team that pressed us the whole night,” he said. “This was the first time in a long time that we’ve put two games back-to-back where we played our best.”
The 16-2 Skiers are now “in control of their own destiny,” Ketchum said. Rivals Hotchkiss and Eagle Valley, once tied with Aspen for second place in the league, suffered losses this weekend, and the Skiers are now No. 2 in the league behind undefeated Cedaredge. With only one game left in the regular season, a Saturday night match-up in Gunnison, AHS expects a top seed once district play begins on Feb. 26.
“We’re alone in second place in an 11-team league,” Ketchum said. “With a win on Saturday, we’ll be the second seed in districts.”
If Ketchum’s predictions are correct, the No. 2 seeded Skiers would receive a bye in the district tourney’s first round, setting the team’s first post-season game for Feb. 28.
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Local high school cross country teams competed Saturday in Crested Butte at the Emma Coburn Elk Run, put on by the race’s namesake Olympian who grew up in the town. Pomona’s Emma Stutzman won the girls race, with Basalt’s Katelyn Maley finishing second and Ava Lane in third.