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Aspen girls hoops host Summer Shootout this weekend

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Jeremy Haack would have been satisfied if seven or eight teams made the trip.

When half of the registration forms he distributed were filled out and returned, the Aspen High girls basketball coach was a tad overwhelmed, but elated.

Twenty teams have committed to take part in this weekend’s Aspen Summer Shootout, a three-day tournament featuring some of the state’s top teams from both the Western Slope and the Front Range. Play began with four games Thursday night and continues all day today and Saturday.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done something like this,” Haack said Thursday. “We’ve got some strong programs coming in. … There’s going to be a lot of basketball.”

Last summer, the Skiers participated in the Gold Crown tournament in Denver. This year, in an effort to generate funds and publicity for the program, Haack decided Aspen should serve as host.

“We didn’t charge an outrageous fee,” the coach said. “We have some great facilities and three gyms to be able to host something like this. … The goal was just getting teams here to play some competitive basketball.”

Among the teams in this weekend’s field are 2A state runner-up Paonia, 3A state runner-up Estes Park and Montrose, which advanced to the 4A final four.

Fellow 3A Western Slope teams Roaring Fork, Olathe, Cedaredge and Hotchkiss will also be here. Every team will play seven games.

“We’ll get a good look at the competition. … This is a chance to play some teams we’ll see during the season but also some we’ll never see,” Haack said. “We’re going to play the runner-up in 2A and 3A. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think the girls need to experience playing teams like that.

“The really cool thing is how excited the girls are. I guarantee some of them are at the gym shooting right now.”

Skiers players will be in the middle of the action this weekend even when they’re not on the court, helping out volunteers at the scorer’s table and in the concession booth. Haack has also enlisted Aspen High boys assistant coaches – and even his father, who will make the trip from Texas – to referee games, which will take place in the main gym, the Skier Dome and at the middle school.

Haack said he can’t wait to see how his young team stacks up.

“We’re going to get to play 16 games this summer,” added the coach, whose team will travel to a tournament at the University of North Colorado in Greeley on June 25. “We’re building a program, and the process to get there is to get better by playing more games now.

“We have great chemistry and the girls are fun to be around. … Let’s play great competition and see how we match up.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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