Preps: Season C gets going as basketball and swimming seasons come to an end
The Aspen High School boys basketball team’s season came to an end Tuesday night with a 54-52 loss at Sterling in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament.
Much like in their Round of 16 overtime win over No. 11 Faith Christian last week, the Skiers fell down big early and had to rally. Seeded No. 6, Aspen trailed No. 3 Sterling 10-0 midway through the first quarter and was down by as much as 12 points at 19-7 early in the second quarter before fighting back to get within 24-21 at halftime.
The Skiers tied the game at 26-all early in the third quarter, but Sterling went on a small run after that to retake control. The Tigers led 43-32 entering the fourth.
Aspen had yet another rally in it, getting as close as a point at 48-47 in the final minutes but was unable to push over the top.
AHS junior Braden Korpela had a big night, scoring 20 points in the loss.
Sterling (15-1) will next play Thursday against No. 2 Lutheran in the state semifinals. No. 1 St. Mary’s vs. No. 4 Manitou Springs is the other semifinal, meaning each of the top four seeds is still alive.
Aspen finishes the season 13-2 overall. The majority of the team’s roster was made up of juniors, plus star sophomore Taylor Akin, so the Skiers are set up to be among the state’s top title contenders entering next season.
Aspen girls swimming second in state for second straight year
The Aspen High School girls swim team finished second at the Class 3A state championships on Tuesday, falling just short in a back-and-forth battle for the title at Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center in Thornton.
Evergreen pulled through late to win its third straight 3A state championship with 360 points. It had been too close to call up until the final event, with AHS finishing with 273 points and Glenwood Springs in third with 254 points. The Skiers held the team lead at various points throughout the day.
It is the second straight runner-up finish at state for Aspen. The team also finished fourth in 2019 and eighth in 2018. The program’s lone state championship came in 2017, the inaugural season for the 3A classification.
Aspen had a pair of individual event state champions on Tuesday. On top of winning the 200-medley relay — Kayla Tehrani, Lilly Huggard, Emily Kinney and Bennett Jones —Tehrani won the 3A state championship in the 100 butterfly. Also of note, Jones was runner-up in the 200 IM, Tehrani third in the 50 free and AHS second in the 200 free relay.
Volleyball, soccer get Season C underway
The Aspen High School volleyball team opened it season with a 3-0 loss at Battle Mountain on Tuesday. Set scores were 25-14, 25-18 and 25-10.
Basalt volleyball also opened its season Tuesday, losing 3-0 at Glenwood Springs. Set scores were 25-11, 25-17, 25-23.
Volleyball teams haven’t competed since fall 2019 after the fall 2020 season was delayed to this spring — dubbed Season C — because of the coronavirus pandemic. Other Season C sports just getting underway include boys soccer and for some teams throughout the state, football.
Aspen football is scheduled to open its shortened season Friday night at Glenwood Springs in what will be a league game for two teams that don’t usually play in the same classification, but will this year due to the pandemic. BHS football opens its season Saturday at home against Salida.
The boys soccer season also kicked off Tuesday, with BHS losing 9-0 at Grand Junction. Aspen’s opener is Thursday at home against Coal Ridge.
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Laimis Grybe finds relaxation through the basketball court. From his young days in Lithuania to his new role as head coach of Rifle High School’s boys basketball team, it’s been the place Grybe has felt he can best be himself.