Gunnison runs away from Aspen boys basketball in district championship game

Patti Arnold
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

GRAND JUNCTION — For two quarters on Saturday, the Aspen High School boys basketball team hung with top-seeded Gunnison in the Class 3A Western Slope League district championship game.

The third quarter was a different story.

Gunnison’s length and quickness was too much for the No. 7-seeded Skiers in the second half, as the Cowboys ran away to a 79-49 victory and the district title in a game played at Grand Junction Central High School. Aspen will still receive the WSL’s second berth in the state playoffs.

Down only six points a halftime, 35-29, after outscoring Gunnison 20-19 in the second quarter, Aspen had no answer for Hunter Wood, who scored 17 of his game-high 30 points in the second half.

Jonathan Woodrow scored six straight points to open the third quarter for the Skiers, including following his own missed 3-pointer by knifing through the lane for the offensive rebound and putback to cut the lead to 41-35 only 3.5 minutes in.

Gunnison went on a 13-0 run over the next four minutes, including Wood hitting a spinning layup on the break with 1:16 to go to make it 52-35 and force Aspen to call timeout. Wood’s baseline jumper with 10 seconds left in the quarter made it a 20-point lead and Aspen couldn’t get back in the game.

Woodrow kept attacking the paint and the Skiers hustled after loose balls but just couldn’t hit enough baskets to stay with the up-tempo Cowboys, who outscored Aspen 23-13 in the fourth quarter.

Three other Cowboys reached double figures — Braden Wood had 16, Quentin Richter added 12 and Aidan Hulbert chipped in 10.

Woodrow finished with 18 points and Taylor Akin 14 for the Skiers, who should find out Sunday where they play in the regional round at state.

This will be Aspen’s first time going to the state tournament since 2014.