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Rifle, Glenwood prepped for playoffs

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post Indpendent file
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RIFLE, Colorado – Neither Stephanie Heald nor her players have set any goals for the postseason. And that’s just the way the Rifle girls basketball coach likes it.

“You know, for the most part, I’d kind of like to keep it that way,” Heald said. “Let’s make it to the next game. Let’s make it to the next level. You know, for us to have really said, ‘We’re going to win state,’ I think that’s intimidating for this group. For this group, it’s just, ‘We have to win every game.'”

The first such game on the postseason slate is the Bears’ 4A state playoff opener against Lewis-Palmer, which will visit Rifle for a second-round showdown at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The Bears drew a first-round bye.



Rifle is coming off a regular season in which it went 18-4 and won the 4A Western Slope League. Lewis-Palmer owns a 10-14 record and finished in the middle of the Colorado Springs Metro League pack.

Heald watched the Rangers dispatch of Arvada, 58-28, in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday. The second-year head coach said her Bears will need to lean on their speed and athleticism to take down Lewis-Palmer.



“I think we have the best-in-shape girls,” Heald said. “We have the quickest girls. That’s definitely going to be to our advantage.”

Friday’s winner will face either Sterling or Cheyenne Mountain in the Sweet 16. Regardless of who survives Friday’s round of 32, the game will be played in Rifle at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Sterling and Cheyenne Mountain will play in Rifle at 5:30 p.m. on Friday as part of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s new 4A playoff format, in which the top two seeds in each of the bracket’s four regions host four teams for second-round and Sweet 16 games. The Bears are the Lou Piel Region’s No. 2 seed.

Whatever team remains standing at weekend’s end will play in the Great Eight at Colorado School of Mines next Saturday.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The time for the Glenwood Springs boys basketball team to celebrate its regular season accolades – namely its 18-5 record and 4A Western Slope League title – is done.

All that matters now is what happens in the playoffs.

The Demons, fresh off a first-round bye, open the second season on Friday when Arvada comes to town for a second-round playoff tilt.

Like Rifle’s girls, Glenwood will play host to four teams for second-round and Sweet 16 games this weekend. Preceding Friday’s 7:30 p.m. Glenwood-Arvada game is a 6 p.m. contest between Thomas Jefferson and Greeley West.

The winners take the court in Glenwood at 2 p.m., Saturday in Class 4A’s Sweet 16. The lucky survivors of the weekend’s games will play in the Great Eight at Colorado School of Mines next Friday.

Arvada enters the weekend with a 14-10 record and on the heels of a 59-57 win over Niwot in the first round on Tuesday.

Vince Villegas and Julio Quezada both come in averaging more than 13 points a night for the Bulldogs.

CONIFER, Colorado – Glenwood’s girls might have the toughest draw of them all as they head to Conifer for a second-round showdown on Friday.

Conifer, which finished as runner-up in the 4A Jefferson County League, brings a 22-1 record into the night. Alison Gorrell leads the Lobos in scoring, averaging more than 26 points a game.

Friday’s game tips off at 7:30 p.m.

Glenwood coach Bryan Derby knows his 13-10 Demons, who opened the playoffs on Tuesday with a 59-54 win over Montezuma-Cortez, aren’t expected to win. That doesn’t mean they’ll go in and roll over for the Lobos.

“You know, they’re 22-1 and we’re 13-10, so we’re not really predicted to win,” he said, “but we’ll come out the best we can and see what we can do.”

Junior Kenzie Kuhn, who scored 24 points in Tuesday’s win over Cortez, is Glenwood’s leading scorer. She’s averaging 20.7 points an outing.

Sophomore Lexie Warkentin, who contributed 18 points on Tuesday, is putting up 8.7 a contest.

jcaspersen@postindependent


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