Colbert’s Prep Playbook: Aspen vs. Basalt basketball gets post-X preps rolling
That was a wild few days. Another X Games has come and gone here in Aspen and while I’m always sad for it to end, living at Buttermilk and surviving off nothing but energy drinks is only fun for so long.
With that, we can get back to the winter high school sports season, which is down to its final month or so. Things certainly pick up once we get into February.
Regarding this week’s lineup, there’s a big one scheduled for Tuesday night when Basalt basketball hosts Aspen in the first of two meetings between the schools this season. Let’s start this Prep Playbook by delving into those match ups.
Let’s not call this a breakthrough season, but at 8-4 the Aspen boys basketball team already has more wins than last year, when it finished 7-14. Another win would match fourth-year coach Alex Schrempf’s best win total, which came in his first season when AHS went 9-12. The Skiers haven’t won more than nine games in a season since going 19-5 in Steven Ketchum’s final season as coach in 2013-14.
Aspen went 1-1 over the weekend, losing 69-43 to a good Gunnison team Friday — snapping a five-game win streak — before a 45-40 win over Grand Valley on Saturday.
Basalt basketball is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. BHS is 1-10 overall after losses to Gunnison (82-49) and Vail Christian (69-52) this past week.
Basalt beat Aspen the first time they played during the 2018-19 season, winning 44-40 prior to the holiday break. But the Skiers answered by beating the Longhorns 47-39 on senior night, and then rolled over Basalt again two days later in the district play-in game, 70-43. That first win for Aspen last year snapped a seven-game skid against their downvalley rivals and gave Schrempf his first win against the Longhorns.
If Aspen wins Tuesday, it’ll remain in contention to make a run at the Class 3A Western Slope League title. The Skiers are 2-1 in WSL play and every team in the league has at least one loss. Basalt sits at the bottom of the standings at 0-3 in WSL play.
Basalt girls basketball is coming off a strong week with wins over Vail Christian (55-40) and Gunnison (54-41). After losing back-to-back games following a three-game win streak, those two wins were needed. The Longhorns are 5-4 overall and 1-2 in WSL play and are quietly having one of their best seasons in recent memory. A sixth win would match their win total from all of last season, which was the most since the program won seven games back in the 2009-10 season.
Aspen girls basketball is 3-6 overall, which isn’t a terrible mark considering the four games it won last season were the most since winning 10 during the 2011-12 season. After beating Vail Mountain 52-25 a week ago, the Skiers lost to Gunnison (37-30) and Grand Valley (55-33).
The last time the Aspen and Basalt girls played each other was in the district play-in game a year ago, BHS rolling to a 44-12 win over shorthanded Aspen. The Skiers haven’t beaten the Longhorns since a 28-27 victory in the district tournament during the 2013-14 season.
Tuesday’s action in Basalt gets underway at 5:30 p.m. with the girls, followed by the boys around 7 p.m.
OTHER PREP NOTES
Aspen hockey is 3-6-3 overall following the weekend. The Skiers hosted Battle Mountain on Friday, playing to a 3-3 draw, before losing 1-0 to Doherty, ranked No. 9 this week, at home Saturday. This coming weekend will be extra difficult with a game Friday at No. 5 Regis Jesuit and a game Saturday at No. 4 Valor Christian.
Aspen’s alpine ski team competed Friday in a slalom at Copper Mountain, with both the boys and girls teams finishing first. Charlie Olsen was first in the boys race, with five others in the top 10. Cate Simpson was second for the girls, with three finishing in the top 10. AHS competes Friday at a slalom in Steamboat Springs before hosting a giant slalom next week.
Aspen’s nordic team competed Saturday in Lake County. AHS was missing a lot of key athletes due to the Rocky Mountain Nordic junior national qualifiers. Still, the girls finished second to Battle Mountain, while the boys were seventh. Aspen’s Kylie Kenny had the best result for the Skiers, finishing fourth in the girls race, a 5K skate at Tennessee Pass. The team competes at Middle Park on Saturday before hosting their home races next weekend.
The AHS girls swim team was second at the Gunnison invitational Friday. Laila Khan-Farooqi, Kayla Tehrani, Lilly Huggard and Ava Cherry all won individual races, which is darn near the entire team. I’ve said this before, but what the team lacks in depth it makes up for with talent. AHS heads to Fruita on Saturday before going to the WSL championships next week. The 3A state swim meet is Feb. 14 and 15 in Thornton.
Speaking of state, wrestling’s big finale is coming up quickly as well, with prelims starting Feb. 20 in Denver. Basalt wrestling is hosting its final home duals Thursday before wrapping up the regular season with events in Eagle and Meeker. Regionals start Feb. 14.
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Once the Aspen High School defense woke up — random 4 p.m. kickoffs need some getting used to — the Skiers were able to dictate Saturday’s football game en route to a 22-7 victory over visiting Steamboat Springs on the AHS turf.