Bears Wallner, Walters win individual league honors
After winning 22 games and appearing in the quarterfinals of the 4A state playoffs, the Rifle Bears girls basketball team racked up quite a few accolades on the 4A Western Slope League All-Conference list, starting with head coach Kristy Wallner.
After leading the Bears to a 22-4 record, including 17 straight wins, and a league championship, Wallner was awarded the 4A WSL Coach of the Year award for her efforts on the bench for the seasoned Bears squad.
Along with Wallner, junior guard Elly Walters, who surpassed 1,000 career points in the playoff win over Green Mountain, was awarded the 4A WSL Player of the Year award.
On the year, Walters averaged 13.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game for the Bears.
Walters also secured as spot on the 4A WSL First Team All-Conference list, as did Rifle senior forward Samantha Hinkle and junior guard Katy Manuppella.
Hinkle averaged 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in her final season with the Bears, while Manuppella averaged 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
Joining the Rifle trio on the All-Conference list was junior forward Peyton Caldwell and junior guard Karly Manuppella, both of whom earned Honorable Mentions for Rifle. On the year, Caldwell averaged 2.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, while Karly Manuppella added 4.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game for the Bears.
Outside of Rifle, the Glenwood Demons girls basketball team saw three representatives named to the All-Conference list as junior forward Tatum Peterson and junior guard Maddie Bolitho earned first-team nods, and sophomore guard Ximena Gutierrez earned Honorable Mention.
Peterson and Bolitho played a big part in leading the Demons to a playoff berth in Year 2 under head coach Rhonda Moser. Peterson averaged 13.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.6 blocks per game, while Bolitho poured in 8.0 points, 4.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game in an all-around effort similar to Walters of Rifle.
Gutierrez, who was the defensive stalwart for the Demons, finished her sophomore year averaging 3.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.3 assists per game for the Demons.
Rifle had the most players named to the list (5), while Palisade and Eagle Valley had 4 players each. Glenwood and Battle Mountain had 3 each, while Summit had 2 players and Steamboat had just one player make the team.
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