A lot riding on tonight’s hoops game | PostIndependent.com
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A lot riding on tonight’s hoops game

G. Sean Kelly
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox
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More is at stake than pride in tonight’s rivalry rubber match between the Glenwood Springs and Rifle boys basketball teams.

Both teams could use a strong finish to the regular season to bolster their chances of being selected for the 48-team Class 4A state tournament, and winning tonight’s contest would be a good start. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at Chavez-Spencer Gym on the GSHS campus.

This is the first season with the new seeding system that guarantees only league champions a slot in the postseason. Steamboat Springs is in the driver’s seat and is headed toward the league title.

The top two, probably three, maybe four, maybe even more teams could get into the postseason. The fact is, it’s impossible to know what kind of respect the Western Slope will earn from the 4A state tournament selection committee.

But one thing is certain: The more wins a team has, the better its chances for a postseason.

Barring a meltdown, Steamboat, 10-0 with four games left, should win the league title and the automatic berth that goes with it. Rifle currently sits second at 7-2, but Battle Mountain is close behind at 7-3. The Demons are fourth at 5-4.

It’s possible that all four teams could advance to the postseason, but Glenwood, in particular, would be much more appealing to the selection committee with a stronger overall record. The Demons are currently 8-9 overall with five games remaining.

The Bears and Glenwood split their two previous meetings this summer. Glenwood downed Rifle 62-52 at the Western Slope preseason tournament in Craig. The Bears, however, captured the more important league victory, upending Glenwood 64-45 at Rifle High School on Jan. 7.

The Demons enter the weekend with some confidence after a solid performance Saturday to beat Moffat County 60-50. Glenwood also showed drastic improvement Friday night. A week after losing to Steamboat by 30 points at home, the Demons gave Steamboat a run before falling back late in a 54-44 loss.

Rifle faced the same two teams last weekend and came out with the same record. The Bears nipped Moffat 50-48 on Friday and fell to Steamboat 62-57 on Saturday.

Rifle Bears (7-2, 11-6) at Glenwood Springs Demons (5-4, 8-9)

7:30 p.m. at Chavez-Spencer Gym


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