Bears beat Montrose at the line |

Bears beat Montrose at the line

Phil Sandoval

RIFLE – If it didn’t before, the Rifle boys basketball team now understands the importance of free-throw shooting.

The Bears hit on 14-of-23 attempts from the charity stripe while their nonleague opponent on Saturday, Montrose, was only 1-of-4 from the line.

Rifle’s accuracy made up for its poor shooting from the field, and its marksmanship allowed the Bears to overtake the Southwestern League Indians in the second half for a 53-44 victory for first-year coach Chris Lowther.

Ryan Shideler overcame a first-half shooting slump in which the junior hit 3-of-10 from the field in the first half by scoring 15 of his game-high 21 points in the final two quarters for the win.

After keeping the score tight in the first quarter, Rifle faltered in the second stanza, connecting on 2-of-13 field goal tries, resulting in just five points in the quarter. That helped Montrose take a 24-13 lead at halftime.

Down by nine, the Bears reduced the margin to 30-28 on Adam Krick’s five-point play late in the third.

Three of the junior’s points came on free throws. Krick flipped in the first foul shot after a Montrose personal foul on a driving layup basket. Krick returned to the line when the Indians’ J.T. Shelton voiced his opinion of the foul too loudly to referee Dave Radal.

Given two more tries, Krick connected.

Rifle appeared to be back in the game. The rally took longer to materialize than it should have, but the Bears made it happen.

Seeing an opportunity slip from its grasp when Montrose raised its lead back to 40-30 at the end of the third, Rifle turned on the defensive pressure, and the Indians wilted.

Montrose hit on 1-of-9 shots in the final period and scored it’s lone field goal of the fourth quarter just before the buzzer.

Rifle regained the lead at the 5:01 mark of the fourth on Shideler’s putback basket on a Jason Enewold miss. The bucket gave the Bears the lead back for the first time since the early stages of the contest.

Shideler scored 10 of Rifle’s 23 points in the quarter.

The 1-0 Bears travel to Denver next week to play in the Alameda Tournament.

Montrose 11 13 14 4-44

Rifle 8 5 17 23-53

MONTROSE – Gabe Aufderheide 1 0-0 2, Miles Scheer 1 1-2 3, J.T. Shelton 4 0-0 8, Aaron Plankis 1 0-0 2, Matt Hughes 0 0-0 0, Ty Cox 3 0-0 7, Micheal Lopez 3 0-1 6, Jake Borner 3 0-1 7, Bryce Carroll 5 0-0 11. Totals – 21 1-4 44.

RIFLE – Ryan Muldoon 1 0-0 2, Troy Weiss 0 0-0 0, Adam Krick 3 4-8 10, Jim Owens 4 0-0 9, Ryan Shideler 8 3-5 221, Jason Enewold 0 5-6 5, Zack Akin 1 0-0 2, Thad Porter 1 2-4 4. Totals – 18 14-23 53.

3-Pointers – M-Cox, Carroll. R-Owens. Fouled Out – M-Borner. Technicals – M-Shelton.

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