3A WSL district tournament roundup: Statler’s dagger lifts Rifle into 3A WSL semifinals
Jake Statler’s last-second jumper lifted Rifle’s boys basketball team to a 54-52 win at Olathe in Wednesday’s 3A Western Slope League district tournament first-round game.
The win pushed the Bears into Friday’s 4:45 p.m. semifinal against Roaring Fork at Palisade High School.
With roughly six seconds left, Statler weaved through the defense as he drove the length of the court. Once deep in Olathe territory, he pulled up for a free throw-length shot that found its mark.
“He crossed over, set his feet and made a great shot,” Rifle coach Chris Lowther said.
Moments before Statler’s game-winner, the Pirates’ Taylor Carlson tied the game at 52.
The win assures the Bears a spot in Class 3A’s 32-team state playoffs. Rifle can finish no worse than fourth in the district tourney, from which the top five teams earn playoff berths.
“I’m so excited for these boys to have the experience of the playoffs,” Lowther said. “I also feel like we’re making some plays. We’re getting going at the right time.”
Tanner Quick led the Bears (9-12) with 13 points. Nine different players put points on the board for Rifle, Lowther said.
Carlson led Olathe with 29 points.
The Pirates (13-7) will host Hotchkiss in consolation action tonight.
Roaring Fork stormed out of the gates en route to a 69-43 win over visiting Hotchkiss in 3A WSL district tourney action on Wednesday.
The Rams took a 20-7 lead after a quarter, and were up 31-24 at halftime before putting the Bulldogs away with a second-half charge.
“The guys came out and tightened up the defense a little bit,” Roaring Fork coach Larry Williams said. “We got some offense off the defense.”
Trae Moxley’s 19 points led the Rams, who improved to 14-6 overall and will face Rifle in the semis at 4:45 p.m. Friday in Palisade. Dakotah Grett finished with 18 points and Sam Carpenter scored 13.
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