Longhorn Classic Day 1: Aspen High boys basketball routs Eagle Valley; Basalt wins

Aspen High School basketball senior Shae Korpela goes up for a dunk against Eagle Valley on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, at Basalt High School. The Skiers rolled to a 68-35 win.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Facing its toughest test of the season so far, the Aspen High School boys basketball team overcame a sluggish start to cruise by Eagle Valley on Thursday afternoon in the first game of the Longhorns Classic, hosted by Basalt High School.

The Skiers won 68-35 to advance to Friday’s tournament semifinal, where they will face Rifle at 4:45 p.m. at BHS.

“We knew we were coming into it going to be contested with our best competitor so far this year,” Aspen coach Cory Parker said. “We definitely wanted that challenge. We know we can compete with the top 3A teams. It’s just a matter of are we going to, and are we going to come with that mentality and that unselfishness that got us there to begin with, or are we going to make it about us?”

Eagle Valley (3-2) led 5-0 and kept the first quarter a defensive battle before AHS finally got it going. Aspen led 13-9 after a quarter and by halftime had pulled ahead 37-17. It was 55-24 after three quarters, with the Devils providing little resistance after those initial minutes.

Porter Lee led Aspen in scoring with 14 points, while brothers Shae and Braden Korpela each had 13 points.

Eagle Valley, which plays out of the Class 4A Western Slope League, was the largest school Aspen has seen so far. AHS, now 5-0, had played mostly 2A schools prior to Thursday’s game.

“They did turn it around. Sometimes they do need that reminder that we just got to approach every single game and every moment with more consistency,” Parker said of the team’s slow start. He admitted the team started slow in practice through the week, as well, and that is something the team needs to pay attention to. “It’s not our normal start, but we slowly chipped away and that’s good.”

Gallery caption: Photos: Aspen boys basketball vs. Eagle Valley

Rifle beat SkyView Academy in their quarterfinal on Thursday, winning 67-60. SkyView will play Eagle Valley at 4:45 p.m. Friday in the consolation bracket at Basalt Middle School.

The Basalt boys basketball team defended its home court in its home tournament on Thursday with a 47-43 win over Berthoud in the late game. The Longhorns advance to play Glenwood Springs at 8:15 p.m. Friday in the other semifinal after the Demons won 63-46 over Banning Lewis Prep in the quarterfinals.

The Basalt girls also took care of business on Thursday, winning their quarterfinal game 29-16 over Battle Mountain. The Longhorns will play Rifle in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the high school. The Bears edged SkyView in their quarterfinal, 42-37.

In the other half of the girls’ bracket, Glenwood Springs rolled over Grand Junction, 61-11, and will face Eagle Valley in the semifinals. The Devils won 64-31 over Banning Lewis Prep in the quarterfinals. Glenwood plays Eagle Valley at 3 p.m. Friday at the high school.