Second season starts for local hoops teams
ASPEN Even though Aspen swept Coal Ridge during the regular season, coach Steve Ketchum isn’t taking Tuesday’s home basketball playoff opener against the Titans lightly.The Skiers (14-5, 10-3 in the 3A Western Slope) have big goals heading into the postseason – among them, exacting revenge against league champion Roaring Fork and hosting a regional.All those plans would go out the window, however, if the Titans were to pull the unlikely upset.”I thought it was a terrible draw for us,” said Ketchum, whose team finished the regular season second in the 3A Western Slope. “Both times we played them, the games were very close. … Out of all the teams in the bottom half of the league, they’re the deepest, most athletic and highest skilled out of all those teams.” It should be noted that the Skiers were down at the half Feb. 9 at Coal Ridge with their best player, Cory Parker, on the bench. The Skiers won that game by nine points, then routed Hotchkiss the next day, but lost both games this weekend – including the regular-season finale at Roaring Fork – with Parker still recovering from an ankle injury.Parker did go through a full practice Monday, and Ketchum expects him to start Tuesday.”I’d say he’s about 80 percent of where he was before he was injured,” Ketchum said. “I looked at his foot today, and the swelling has gone down completely. He can’t jump as high or run as fast , but it’s a huge confidence boost to have him back. For our kids to win two out of four without him, it’s not too shabby. I’ve got to give the kids some credit.”Before the injury, Parker was averaging about 24 points and 12 rebounds.
For Basalt girls coach Carolyn Compton, a first-round district matchup with Coal Ridge at home Wednesday night isn’t as frightening. The Longhorns (15-4, 12-2) routed the Titans by 39 and 28 points in two meetings.
Compton expects more of the same Wednesday, with her full compliment of players. The Longhorns faced a bit of adversity this past month when Compton and three of the team’s best players missed three games for violation of unspecified team rules.
“We don’t approach them any differently,” Compton said. “This is do-or-die time. We’re not taking anything lightly.”For Aspen’s girls and Basalt’s boys, the challenge is much more daunting. After finishing the regular season behind seven of eight teams in the 3A Western Slope, the Skiers face league champion Cedaredge on the road Wednesday night. The Bruins capped a perfect 18-0 season with win Saturday over Basalt.The Longhorns girls would love another crack at the Bruins – possibly in the district championship game – after Saturday’s 64-49 home loss.”We would have liked to beat them,” Compton said. “They’re a good experienced, disciplined team. We just didn’t really play our style of basketball, and that’s why we got beat. Hopefully, we’ve finally gotten that out our system. They’re a team that can be beaten. I don’t see the same thing happening three times.”
Basalt’s boys team, which finished the regular season Saturday with a heartbreaking 59-57 loss to Cedaredge, travels to Olathe tonight. In the teams’ first meeting, Basalt won, 79-56, but the Pirates have been hot recently.The Pirates spoiled Friday – senior night – for Aspen’s boys, upsetting the Skiers, 45-43.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Vail and Beaver Creek resorts Senior Communications Manager John Plack said the company agrees with the state’s assessment that the ski industry must be out-front in its approach to ensure a safe and successful season in Colorado.