Preps: Aspen boys basketball clobbers Cedaredge in district opener, 70-35
The fun is back.
With reserve players coming off the bench late and making buckets, the veteran players cheering from the sideline as the clock melted away, it was quite the joyous occasion for an Aspen High School boys basketball team that has been through a lot of ups and downs — probably more downs — in recent years.
But Saturday in their Class 3A district play-in game, the Skiers rolled to a 70-35 rout of visiting Cedaredge inside the AHS gymnasium, a win that keeps their season alive for at least a few more days.
“That was pretty incredible,” AHS senior reserve Sloan Hamill said. “The crowd was into it and we got all five seniors in at the last moment. To double their points and get up to 70 was pretty incredible. I don’t think we’ve had that big of a win in a while.”
Aspen and Cedaredge split their two regular-season meetings. AHS won 66-45 in a non-league home game on Jan. 17 before losing 53-39 on Feb. 11 in Cedaredge in what was the lone league win for the Bruins this season. That defeat came amid Aspen’s four-game slide when it was missing a handful of key players because of injury.
Saturday’s grudge match wasn’t overly competitive, with AHS leading 13-6 after a quarter and 33-20 at halftime. The second half was a complete rout by the Skiers, who were aggressive both on the offensive boards and on the defensive side of the court. The Bruins struggled to gain any consistency on offense and allowed numerous second-chance points.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s a testament to these guys’ togetherness and how they all care,” fourth-year AHS coach Alex Schrempf said. “As we started learning our lessons during the stretch of that season and figuring out what we have to change, they found it and took ownership on their part. I couldn’t be more proud.”
While the five seniors stole the show in the end, Aspen’s offensive prowess was sparked by freshman Taylor Akin, who led all players with 19 points. Senior Jonathan Woodrow (12 points), sophomore Braden Korpela (11) and senior Aidan Ledingham (10) also reached double figures.
Hamill finished with three points, Jack Seamans had two points and Jon Haisfield a single point, meaning all five AHS seniors recorded points in what was likely the final home game of their careers.
“We love to get in as many people as we can. It was great to have the opportunity to do that,” said Haisfield, who missed a handful of games this season because of injury. “I’m just happy to be back out there again. It was definitely good to have our team healthy again. We’ve been putting in work all week and all the weeks prior leading up to this game. I think it all paid off.”
Cedaredge, which was the 10 seed in the 10-team district tournament, finishes the season 4-16 overall. Aspen, the No. 7 seed, improved to 12-8 overall and will face No. 2 seed Coal Ridge (14-5) in the district quarterfinals on Tuesday in New Castle.
The teams played once earlier this season, the Titans winning 66-58 at home on Feb. 14, the final game of Aspen’s four-game skid.
“All credit goes to these boys and how they are coming together. They trusted that process and now they are playing well,” Schrempf said with an eye on Tuesday’s game with Coal Ridge. “They play good basketball together. But that’s what we do, too. I think it’s wide open. I think we can surprise some people if we show up the right way and that’s what we are going to keep working toward.”
BASALT BOYS FALL TO OLATHE
The Basalt High School boys basketball team had its season come to an end Saturday with a 55-48 home loss to Olathe in their district pigtail game. The teams had played as recently as Feb. 14, the Longhorns rolling to a 60-38 win that day.
The rematch was much closer, with Olathe leading most of the way. The Pirates took a 24-21 edge into the halftime break and led 39-35 going into the fourth quarter and did enough to hold on for the win.
Basalt, the No. 8 seed, finishes the first season under coach Clint Hunter with a 4-15 overall record. Olathe, the No. 9 seed, improved to 4-16 overall and will play in the district quarterfinals at No. 1 seed Gunnison.
BASALT GIRLS TAKE CARE OF ASPEN
The Basalt girls basketball team cruised to a 62-22 win over visiting Aspen on Saturday afternoon to kickoff district play. BHS finished the season 3-0 against the Skiers, including Thursday’s 49-14 rout in the regular-season finale.
Aspen, the No. 10 seed, closes out the winter with a 3-17 overall record.
Basalt, the No. 7 seed, improved to 9-9 overall and will play in the district quarterfinals at No. 2 Cedaredge (16-3) on Tuesday. In their lone meeting this season back on Jan. 31, the Bruins beat the Longhorns, 49-20, in Cedaredge.
BASALt’s Ernesto Lopez finishes fourth at 3A state wrestling
Basalt High School senior Ernesto Lopez wrapped up his Longhorn wrestling career Saturday by finishing fourth at the state tournament inside the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Competing in Class 3A’s heavyweight division, Lopez advanced to the third-place match before losing to Lamar’s Sy Spitz (fall, 0:18). Lopez, who will play football at Western Colorado University, won his opening-round match Thursday before falling in the quarterfinals on Friday. He answered back by winning three matches on the backside of the bracket.
Competing in the 170-pound division, Basalt junior Ruben Samuelson — a Roaring Fork High School student — also lost in Friday’s quarterfinals before winning a single match in the playbacks. He ultimately lost in the playback quarterfinals.
AHS hockey closes season with DRAW at Glenwood
The Aspen High School hockey team closed out its regular season Saturday at Glenwood Springs, a game that ended in a 3-3 tie. The Skiers finished the season 3-10-4 overall and now will await their postseason fate.
The team was right on the bubble for making the state tournament bracket, which could come out as soon as Sunday.
Two new exhibitions open at Aspen’s Red Brick Center for the Arts on Thursday, including their resident artists program, and Tamara Susa’s Disturbance, her photo project on Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.