Basalt, Rifle looking to advance in tourney |

Basalt, Rifle looking to advance in tourney

Make state.

The Basalt girls and Rifle boys are one step away from reaching next weekend’s elite eight teams in their respective divisions. But, that step is more like a crevasse.

Both teams have to win tonight’s second-round playoff games to make the big show. And both squads have formidable opponents in front of them.

Basalt (22-1), the No. 4 seed in the girls Class 3A tournament, hosts No. 13 Pagosa Springs (17-5). The Longhorns will get an extra boost of adrenaline from their large, vocal group of supporters.

Rifle doesn’t have that luxury.

After posting a 80-69 win over Fountain-Fort Carson in Tuesday’s Class 4A first-round game, the 17-6 Bears have to travel across the state to play at fifth-seeded Pueblo County (20-3).

Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

The Longhorns opened the state playoffs with a 68-51 win over Denver Lutheran on Tuesday.

Sophomore Lauren Redfern scored 23 points with Mariah Mulcahy and Autumn Caughern adding 18 and 13 points respectively.

Meanwhile, Pagosa Springs girls advanced on a 65-33 first-round dismantling of Rangely.

The Pirates, who play in the Intermountain League, are lead by 6-foot-3 senior center Ashley Gronewoller.

Gronewoller has a 18.9 per-game scoring average, the second best average among 3A girls statewide, and averages 10.3 rebounds.

Lady Bears close season on the road

The Rifle boys got another strong performance from junior Ryan Schideler in Tuesday’s win. He scored a game-high 25 points against Fountain-Fort Carson while teammate Carl Day contributed 20 points and nine rebounds.

Tonight’s Pueblo Central game should post more of a challenge.

The Hornets are not big. Their tallest player is 6′ 6″ Kory Sperry.

But, they do have a lot of experience with five seniors on the roster.

Their key players include guards Chad Stapleton and Keith Miller, along with forwards Belden Sperry and Nick Rusler.

The Rifle-Pueblo County game will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on KTMS Radio with Ron Milhorn and Jack Jabbour calling the play-by-play.

On Wednesday, Rifle’s girls fell out of the playoffs with a 53-45 loss to the Evergreen Cougars.

The Bears were trailing 17-16 to the host Cougars at the end of the first quarter before Evergreen shut down Rifle’s offense.

Rifle scored 14 points in the next two quarters while Evergreen took a 40-30 lead at the end of the third period.

The Bears could not put much of a dent in Evergreen’s 10-point lead in the final eight minutes of play, despite outscoring the Cougars, 15-13, in the period.

Evergreen’s Jennifer Whetten, the top scorer in girls class 4A, ended the contest with a game high 20 points; Jamie Massey scored 17 for Evergreen. The Cougars host Moffat County this evening.

Krista Wagstrom led Rifle with 11 points. Ashley Gavito chipped in nine, Julie McWilliams and Autumn Hedberg scored six points each.

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