RIFLE, Colorado - Damon Martinez and Rick Schmitz talk most every day. They go golfing together from time to time. Sometimes, they'll meet up and grab some wings.
As such, coaching against one another on Tuesday night just felt strange to Martinez, who served as an assistant coach under Schmitz for Coal Ridge's girls basketball program the last five seasons.
Schmitz, now at Rifle, emerged victorious in the opening chapter of the friendly coaching rivalry. Behind 29 points from Chante Church, Schmitz's Bears scored a 53-43 win over Martinez's Titans.
"We talk just about every day. Not always about basketball, just different things," Martinez said. "I'm sure he's very happy for the win, but I'm sure he feels bad for me, kind of like I'm mad we lost, but I'm still happy for him."
Martinez's squad held its own after falling behind 11-0 at the outset. Chipping away with free throws as Rifle racked up the fouls, Coal Ridge closed to 13-9 midway through the fourth.
That's as close as the Titans would get. Every time they made a charge, the Bears had a response.
"We allowed them to make runs," Martinez said. "We were coming back and we'd make a move and then we'd stop and they'd come back again. Then we'd have to start climbing that hill again."
Church, a junior, said Rifle is finding its rhythm on offense after struggling at the past weekend's Steamboat Shoot-Out.
"We moved the ball and ran our offense," she noted. "We'd pass and get the open looks. We were a little rusty, but we made some changes. We're playing our game now."
Church's 29 points included four 3-pointers and an 11-of-14 shooting clip at the foul line. Joey Kuheim chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds for the Bears, who improved to 2-2. Kimmie Rausin also finished with seven boards.
Cassidy Blackard's 17 points and six rebounds led the Titans, now 1-2 overall. Britni Allen finished with eight points and three blocks. Alicia Hampton added six points and Paige Ryan five points.
Trent Brown led a balanced score sheet with 12 points, helping Rifle's boys to a 55-25 win over visiting Coal Ridge on Tuesday.
Wyatt Robinson added 10 points for the Bears, who improved to 2-2. Tanner Quick scored eight and Jake Statler and Tanner Rust finished with seven apiece.
Rifle held Coal Ridge to two points in the second quarter and four in the third to build up its big lead.
Andy Bowles led the Titans (0-3) with nine points.