Bears boys set for battle against Huskies |

Bears boys set for battle against Huskies

There was a little surprise waiting for the Rifle Bears boys basketball team Wednesday.

Battle Mountain pulled off a 54-51 upset over Delta Tuesday night in the Class 4A District 7 tournament pigtail game, to earn the right to play league champion Rifle in the first round tonight at 8:15 at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.

The victory was just the second Western Slope League win of the season for Battle Mountain, which enters the game with a 2-11 league record (4-15 overall).

Conversely, Rifle hasn’t lost in 10 games and holds a perfect a league mark at 12-0 (14-5). Still, head coach Chris Lowther isn’t treating this game any differently than if Battle Mountain was the cream of the WSL.

“We’re trying to approach it the same as any other game,” Lowther said. “We want to be as prepared as we can and know their personnel and tendencies.”

A couple players the Bears will keep their eyes on are swingman Blake Gammon and 6-foot-7 center Beau Beckley.

“I think Gammon is very good,” Lowther said. “He’s a good one-on-one player and creates well for himself. And they do have the big guy Beckley in the middle.”

Ryan Shideler has been the main weapon for the Bears this season in the paint and the 6-6 senior center will likely be burdened with keeping Beck under wraps.

The winner of the Rifle-Battle Mountain contest faces the winner of the Steamboat Springs-Montrose game in the semifinals. The game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Friday. The losers of the two games play at 8:15 p.m. Friday at Grand Junction High School.

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