Parker wins coaching debut as Aspen boys basketball routs Vail Mountain
The Cory Parker-era of Aspen High School boys basketball picked up essentially where it left off from when he was a player — that is, in a very good place.
Behind a frenetic start, the Skiers rolled to a 75-33 win over visiting Vail Mountain School on Tuesday night inside the AHS gymnasium. It was the first game of the season for Aspen and the first game with Parker, a 2008 AHS graduate and former standout player, as the team’s head coach.
“They played how I wanted them to play. They played with an urgency,” Parker said. “They played with a desire to want to play defense. That was our emphasis. Everything is going to start on defense and they bought in. And that was what I was most proud of.”
If an Aspen player put up a shot, there was a good chance it was going in. If there was a loose ball or rebound to be had, an AHS jersey was almost guaranteed to be in the mix. That’s how the Skiers easily took down the Gore Rangers, dominating from the start to give Parker his first win as head coach in his first try.
Aspen trailed 3-2 after an early 3-pointer by Vail Mountain, but then ripped off 24 straight points — including an emphatic breakaway dunk by senior Porter Lee — to lead 26-6 after a quarter and 45-17 at the halftime break.
“I think we were shooting like 80% from three in the first half,” Parker said. “We can’t expect to shoot like that every single game, but that’s a testament to guys getting work in. We have the gym open three days a week in the morning.”
The Skiers led 63-29 after three quarters and were able to unload their bench in the final stretch, much to the delight of a raucous student section.
Like he did much of last season, AHS senior Braden Korpela led the team in scoring with 23 points, 15 of those coming in the first half. He connected on five 3-pointers.
His brother, senior Shae Korpela, chipped in 13 points, while Porter Lee also found double digits with 12 points. Seniors Ben Godomsky and Lucas Lee had 9 and 8 points, respectively.
“The fans were great. The student section was great. They absolutely feed off of them, they feed off of our bench guys,” Parker said. “We are only going to grow from this, and that’s the exciting thing, if we can just continue to grow and get better. It’s a good start.”
Photos: Aspen boys basketball vs VMS
Parker had spent the past five seasons as an AHS assistant coach under former head coach Alex Schrempf, who stepped down to return to his roots in Seattle. Parker, who was named “Mr. Basketball” in Class 3A his senior year in Aspen and later played collegiately for Drake, had built the program with Schrempf and felt right at home stepping into the head coaching role.
“I love having ownership of something. It’s exciting for me to be able to get up and stand up and just have this thing under my control. It’s awesome,” Parker said. “It’s not one person. It’s not one person on the court, it’s not the coach. It’s how we come together collectively in order to accomplish the goals that we have.”
Aspen (1-0), which is ranked No. 6 in 3A, next plays Thursday in a three-day tournament hosted by Meeker. The Skiers then play in Basalt’s home tournament next week before going on break for the holidays. Tuesday’s game with VMS was their only home game this side of the New Year.
Vail Mountain, which plays in 2A, dropped to 2-1 after opening the season with wins over Lake County (45-33) and Vail Christian (62-54).
Basalt basketball splits with Grand Junction in opener
The Basalt High School girls basketball team started its season strong with a 44-19 win at Grand Junction on Tuesday night.
BHS led 15-9 after a quarter and 24-9 at halftime. The Basalt defense held GJHS to a combined two points in the second and third quarters.
Junior Ava Lane did much of the damage for the Longhorns, scoring 15 points, including 11 points in the first half. Sophie Hodgson and Amelia Allen each chipped in 9 points.
The boys game followed, with Basalt losing 52-37 to Grand Junction in its opener. Senior Blake Chadourne led the Longhorns with 11 points, while senior Wish Moore finished with 9 points.
Both Basalt teams are scheduled to play in Front Range tournaments starting Thursday before hosting their own tournament next week.
Aspen hockey falls short to No. 1 Cheyenne Mountain in opener
The Aspen High School hockey season got underway Monday afternoon with a 4-3 loss at Cheyenne Mountain, played inside the Sertich Ice Center in Colorado Springs.
It was a matchup of top-10 teams, with the Hawks — a new Cheyenne Mountain mascot only adopted earlier this year — coming in ranked No. 1 in Class 4A this week, and the Skiers at No. 9.
After a scoreless first period, the Hawks built a 2-0 lead after two periods and extended it to 3-0 early in the third period. Aspen fought back, a Ryan Rigney power-play goal getting AHS on the board at 3-1.
But the Hawks answered right back to make it 4-1, with Joseph Clark and Carson Miller both scoring late goals for the Skiers before time ran out on the rally.
Wyatt Furda scored the first three goals for Cheyenne Mountain, which moved to 3-0 after also beating Crested Butte and Summit to open the season.
Aspen (0-1) will next host Summit at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Aspen Ice Garden.
The Basalt High School football team only needed one half to put away visiting Grand Valley on Friday night, winning 42-6 in the league opener on a wet BHS field. It was also homecoming for the Longhorns.
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