Aspen Summer Shootout a big draw |

Aspen Summer Shootout a big draw

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Jeremy Haack’s goal is to host the best high school girls basketball tournament in the state.

“I think we’re well on our way,” the Aspen high girls coach said Tuesday.

Haack admitted last year that he would have been satisfied if seven or eight teams signed up for the inaugural Aspen Summer Shootout last June. A total of 18 squads from across the state wound up making the trip.

This time around, interest was piqued to the point that Haack had to turn away teams, he said. A total of 19 varsity and junior varsity squads, among them some of Colorado’s top programs, are slated to take part in the second annual event. The action tips of at 5 p.m. Thursday and runs through Saturday at Aspen’s high school and middle school.

“I thought we put on a great tournament last year and were fortunate to get a lot of strong teams in that first year,” Haack said.

“Slowly but surely, we’re starting to get respect in the valley and the league. … And people around the state know about this tournament. … I didn’t think it would be this big this fast. I thought it was going to be a three- or four-year process. But here we are.”

Seven of the 12 varsity teams heading to Aspen this weekend made the state tournament in their respective classifications this winter, and eight are returning for a second consecutive year, Haack said. Among them are a strong 2A program in Hayden, three schools (Pagosa Springs, Estes Park and Olathe) that made the 3A Great Eight in Fort Collins and a 4A school in Rifle that advanced to the second round of sub-region play. The Bears will make the move to the 3A Western Slope in 2010-2011.

Fresh off its surprise run to the state tournament, the host Skiers tip off against Hotchkiss at 5 p.m. Thursday, in their first of seven games in three days.

Aspen’s full schedule includes an intriguing rematch with Pagosa Springs at 8 p.m. Friday night; the two teams met in the first round of the playoffs, with the No. 4 seeded Pirates pulling out an 11-point win over the 29th-seeded Skiers.

Pagosa Springs, which returns its top two scorers, topped Olathe in 3A’s third-place game in March.

“If we’re going to be the best, we have to play the best,” Haack said. “Summer ball is the chance to work on things and get better, and we welcome the chance to play Pagosa again. … The girls are excited.”

Aspen closed last season with five wins in its final nine games, a streak Haack attributes in part to an increased workload last summer. Hosting the shootout gave the Skiers the chance to double the number of games they played during the summer; they typically only participated in a camp at the University of Northern Colorado.

“At the end of the season, we were playing good basketball. … That’s when you get rewarded for all that extra, hard work,” Haack said. “There’s a big commitment level from these girls to be around and play these extra games. … All that doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to build a program.

“I tell the girls that the shootout is for them, not only to get better but to showcase the Aspen girls basketball program.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User