Summer Shootout returns to Aspen
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – When he first hatched the idea to host a summer tournament, Aspen High girls basketball coach Jeremy Haack did so with modest expectations. He admitted he would’ve been satisfied if seven or eight teams made the trip.
Three short years later, elite programs from around the state – and beyond – routinely call to reserve their spot at the Aspen Summer Shootout, which kicked off Thursday night and continue through Saturday. In fact, interest has swelled to the point that Haack has been turning squads away at late.
“We have great facilities here and are going to have some great competition,” Haack said Tuesday. “The first year we did this, I was afraid no one would show up. Here we are now with 20 teams coming from all over.”
This year, for the first time, the Shootout will be an all-varsity field. Among those slated to attend are 12 teams that made the playoffs in their respective classifications and one squad, Ste. Genevieve High, making the trek all the way from Missouri.
High-profile programs from Colorado include Pagosa Springs, Estes Park and Rifle, which all advanced to the 3A Great 8 in Fort Collins in March, and 4A schools Montrose and Steamboat Springs, among others.
Six schools are participating for the first time. The host Skiers kicked things off Thursday against newcomer Crested Butte.
Programs have flocked to Aspen, Haack said, because of the attractive locale and the relatively low entry fees; most teams sleep on the indoor track in the main gym to cut down on lodging costs.
The chance to play six games in three days is alluring, too, the coach added.
“Any time we can get the girls playing extra basketball, it’s good for the team and the program. This is a chance to show what Aspen girls hoops is all about,” Haack said. “This shows the level of commitment the girls have and the coaching staff has. Putting on a great summer tournament … it’s just about the love of the game. I enjoy being able to provide an opportunity to be around the game a little bit in the summer.”
Aspen, which finished 5-15 last winter, will participate in two tournaments this summer. The Skiers are slated to participate in July’s San Diego Classic, the nation’s largest high school girls hoops tournament.
“It’s going to be an incredible team bonding experience,” Haack said.
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