With heavy hearts, Rifle boys return to the court
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
It will be trying and emotional, no doubt, but a mourning Rifle High School boys basketball team will return to the court tonight.
This evening’s game against visiting Roaring Fork will be the first for the Bears since they lost teammate Austin Booth. The junior died on Monday after a brief bout with the flu.
Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m., with the girls game to follow at roughly 7:30 p.m.
Tonight’s games will be very much about Booth, a popular 17-year-old who moved to the area from Texas last year.
A silent auction and 5 p.m. spaghetti dinner will be held at Rifle High School, with proceeds benefiting the Booth family.
While RHS athletic director Troy Phillips and company haven’t fully ironed out the details, the night will also likely feature a pre-game tribute to Booth, who played basketball, football and baseball for the Bears.
“We’re still figuring that out,” Phillips relayed.
Whatever way Rifle High School opts to honor its fallen student, Booth is, by all accounts, worthy.
“He was an incredible kid,” said Phillips, who is also Rifle’s head baseball coach. “He played on our summer baseball team. We had just met him and he showed up and practiced with us and went to Idaho with us [for a tournament]. A lot of kids became close to him in just the sixth months he was here.”
The loss has had an impact at schools throughout Garfield County.
Grand Valley observed a moment of silence before its Tuesday home boys and girls basketball games with Aspen.
Roaring Fork is also doing its part to honor Booth. Phillips said the school’s booster club is planning to donate $500 to the Booth family.
“It’s obviously a tough situation to lose somebody so young, so energetic,” Phillips said. “He had done so much in the time he’d been here.”
Anyone wishing to lend the Booths a helping hand can do so by contributing to a fund established in Austin’s name at Alpine Bank.
Booth’s memorial service is planned for Monday, Jan. 24, at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle. A viewing is scheduled for 11 a.m., followed by a service at 1 p.m.
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