Bears bounce back in playoff win
Post Independent Staff
RIFLE ” To win in the playoffs, a team has to perform on both sides of the ball.
Rifle High School coach Rick Schmitz reminded his team of that in the locker room after being held scoreless by Ralston Valley in the second quarter of Tuesday’s girls Class 4A state tournament basketball game.
The 19-4 Bears took the coach’s words to heart, and responded with better play in the second half to earn a harder-than-expected 50-36 win against the 14-10 Mustangs, who advanced out of last week’s District 1 tournament in Denver.
“I told (the team) at halftime if we don’t start playing basketball and start defending and rebounding, you’re not going to score; you’ve got to get it done at the dirty work end,” Schmitz said of the halftime talk to his team.
With the Bears down 17-14 at the break, Renee Laudick hitched up her shorts and dug in.
The junior scored five straight field goals in a three-minute stretch to lift the Bears from four points down to a 30-24 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“I don’t know what happened,” Laudick said of her efforts in the third period. “I guess something just went off in my head.”
Schmitz said Laudick’s production came from her ability to move without the basketball.
“She not only hit her shots, but she moved to get open and we found her,” Schmitz said. “(Renee) hit a couple of shots, everybody relaxes, and then everyone goes all out ” and that’s you want.”
After taking a 30-24 lead on Laudick’s final basket of the period ” a 12-foot roller with 34 seconds left, Rifle regained its form. In the fourth quarter, the Bears outscored Ralston Valley 20-12.
Laudick scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half. Krista Wagstrom led the Bears with 19 points and 16 rebounds.
Ralston Valley sophomore Annie Beeble finished with 13 points. Junior Brittany Nelson, who gave the Mustangs the lead in the second quarter on two, three-point baskets, had nine points.
Rifle’s victory moves the Bears into a 5 p.m., second-round state playoff game against Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain Friday at Regis University in Denver.
The 21-2 Indians advanced to the girls 4A “Sweet 16” against Rifle with a 71-57 first-round win over Pueblo Central Tuesday night.
COLORADO SPRINGS ” Host Harrison High School scored 46 points in the first half to open a big lead, in breezing to a 76-51 win that concluded Rifle’s season on Tuesday.
Three Harrison players ” Marquale Williams, Dorian Watson and Cornellus Halloway ” finished the game in double figures to give the Panthers the win.
Adam Krick and Aaron Jewell led the Bears, who finished the year at 9-14, with 12 points each.
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