Vail Christian takes two from Aspen boys and girls basketball in AHS home openers
The Aspen High School basketball teams played at home for the first time this season, falling in a pair of games to Vail Christian on Thursday night inside the AHS gymnasium. The boys played a nail-biter that went to overtime, while the shorthanded girls couldn’t quite keep up with the Saints.
VC BOYS 63, ASPEN 60
This was close throughout. The Skiers trailed 18-14 at the end of the first quarter but led 27-24 at halftime behind a stellar first-half performance from sophomore Braden Korpela, who scored all 10 of his points before the break.
The Saints outscored the Skiers 20-11 in the third quarter to take a 44-38 lead into the fourth. Vail Christian had a chance to shut the door on AHS, but the home team rallied over the final five minutes. Aspen eventually took a 53-52 lead with 55 seconds to play after a drive and basket by Taylor Akin, but Vail Christian would split a pair of free throws only 20 seconds later to make it 53-53.
The Saints were called for a charge on a made basket with less than a second to play in regulation — negating what would have been the game-winner — and the teams went to overtime in the 53-all deadlock.
A quick basket only seconds into the extra period gave the Saints a 55-53 lead. AHS would retake the lead at 58-57 after a Jon Haisfield free throw, but other missed opportunities, including from the line, allowed Vail Christian to build a 62-58 lead with only 15 seconds to play.
Down 63-60, Aspen had the ball in the final seconds but a missed 3-pointer by Korpela at the buzzer allowed the Saints to sneak away with the win.
Aspen’s Jonathan Woodrow led the team with 23 points.
Vail Christian stayed unbeaten, moving to 4-0 overall as it heads into winter break. The Saints are ranked No. 9 in Class 2A this week.
Aspen fell to 2-3 overall in its final game before the winter break. The loss snapped a two-game win streak for the Skiers.
VC GIRLS 48, ASPEN 26
The Aspen girls played without some key players who were out with injury and couldn’t keep up with Vail Christian in a 48-26 loss. The Saints, while not ranked, have finished with double-digit wins each of the past five seasons.
“It was what it was. They had a good ball handler and they had a couple of people that could put up quick shots, accurate shots,” AHS coach James Aldridge said. “That’s what I always tell the girls, is you have to do that dirty work to win these games.”
The Saints improved to 2-2 overall with the win, while Aspen fell to 1-3. AHS hadn’t played since a 35-21 loss to Lotus on Dec. 7 in Meeker. Last week’s game with Hotchkiss had been cancelled because of the weather.
Aldridge likes where the team is heading into the break, especially with so many players expected back in the lineup come January. He pointed out their 37-35 comeback win over Dolores on Dec. 6 as reason to be excited.
“They know what it feels like to fight,” Aldridge said. “They go out there and they try hard and that’s all I can truthfully ask.”
Both teams are now off until the second week of January.