Discovery Canyon junior basketball player Ashten Prechtel has the asset that can’t be improved with long hours in the gym and some of the skills that can
Standing 6-foot-5, Prechtel routinely posts gaudy double-doubles, but she’s most comfortable away from the basket.
“I’ve always liked playing on the perimeter more so than the post,” Prechtel said. “So I’ve actually improved my post game, especially this year.”
In Friday’s 67-55 win over Sand Creek, the Thunder star put her entire arsenal of abilities on display, putting up 25 points on 10 of 17 shooting with 18 rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks to earn Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week.
“It was definitely a good game,” Prechtel said. “I still think that I can do better, of course, but it was a good game.”
While Heath Kirkham is in his first year coaching the Thunder, Friday’s showing was the kind of performance he’s come to expect. After all, Prechtel is averaging 17.2 points, 13.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, one steal and 3.2 blocks per game. She has 13 double-doubles, tied for the lead in Colorado, in 18 games.
“It’s just something I expect out of her,” Kirkham said. “I expect her to play like that all the time. I think Friday night, what we saw, she played with a lot more fire than she had been and really dominated the game in every aspect, passing the ball as well as shooting it.”
Passing has become a more important part of Prechtel’s game, as she’s seen a defenses ranging from a box-and-one to double teams out of man and zone looks.
“It depends, but I’ve gotten a lot better at handling pressure like that,” she said.
Despite her size, her post game is another point of emphasis as she prepares for Division I basketball.
“Obviously, when she gets to the next level - and she will go to the next level - that’s where she’ll be most effective,” said Kirkham who previously served as an assistant coach at Colorado Mesa.
“Big-time programs want to see her score from the inside at 6-(foot)-5, be tough, be strong and then when has the opportunity, step out and hit the 3, because she can.”
Prechtel has plans to start taking her official visits this spring with UCLA and Texas two of the likely destinations. She hopes to be ready to make a commitment in the summer.
When she makes her collegiate decision, she’d like to have helped the Thunder program reach a new level of success.
“The best that our program has ever done, we made it to the second round, so I hope we can beat that,” she said.
Like the season as a whole, it’s hard to imagine where Prechtel could end up with her unique blend of size, skill and athleticism.
“It’s really hard to fathom where she could go at this point,” Kirkham said. “We’re right now teetering on being really great, and that’s up to her. If she’s going to show up every day and keep working hard, she will be.”
Other Peak Performers
Jared Belcher, The Classical Academy
Belcher helped the Titans to wins over Mesa Ridge, Canon City and Woodland Park last week, averaging 24 points per game. He set a new TCA record with 39 points against Canon City when he made 12 of 19 shots from the field, including 8 of 13 from deep.
Mykiaa Minniss, Doherty
Minniss had one strong offensive showing and one strong defensive game as the Spartans picked up two more wins to improve to 9-0 in league play. She posted six steals and four defensive rebounds in a win over Coronado before making 7 of 8 shots for a team-high 17 points in Thursday's win over Pine Creek.
Girls swimming and diving
Cat Wright, Cheyenne Mountain
Wright finished her final Pikes Peak Athletic Conference meet with a couple records. Her 55.67 second finish in the 100-yard butterfly broke both the pool and meet record, which she previously held. She also won the 200 individual medley and helped the Indians win the 200 medley and 400 free relays. Cheyenne Mountain finished second in the team standings.
James Ruona, Canon City
Ruona made quick work of his three opponents at the Colorado Springs Metro League tournament last weekend to finish first in the 126-pound bracket and help the Tigers win the team title. His longest match came in the semifinals when he needed 1 minute 35 seconds to pin his opponent. He needed just 1:12 in the final.