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Bears boys take fourth after loss to ‘Dogs

FRUITA ” To play winning basketball, a team’s got to have a passion for the game. That was the problem Rifle had against Palisade.

The Bears lost their passion somewhere in the second half of a 59-49 loss to the Bulldogs in the third-place game of the Class 4A District 6 boys basketball tournament.

But with a fourth-place finish in the district tournament, the Bears have another chance to regain their spark next week ” in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.



At the start, Rifle played well and fashioned a 12-point lead.

All of it had vanished when Palisade’s Ryan Farlow knotted the game at 27-all with 2:51 remaining in the first half.



Farlow was a one-man offensive machine in the first and second quarters.

The Bulldog senior scored 23 of his game-high 29 point the first half, which included a 15-point second quarter that allowed Palisade a momentary tie.

“I think he’s a great player,” Rifle coach Chris Lowther said of Farlow. “When he catches the ball in the high post and turns and faces (the basket), he’s good at finishing.

“He’s worked hard enough to be a great shooter any night. And I think he did that today.”

The Bears rebounded from Farlow’s efforts with baskets by Adam Krick and Jim Owens to take a 33-32 lead to the locker room at halftime.

But, a 10-0 Palisade run after Rifle had raised the lead to 46-41 with two minutes left in the third quarter broke the Bears’ spirit.

Michael Embrey scored six of the Bulldogs’ 10 points for a five-point lead.

Rifle never got any closer to Palisade. The Bulldogs outscored the Bears 18-13 in the fourth quarter and finished the contest by scoring the game’s last six points.

Owens finished with 17, Krick added 14 points and Troy Weiss scored 11 for Rifle, which probably will open Tuesday’s state playoffs on the road.

“We need to focus on playing as hard as we can with emotion and a passion for the game wherever we end up,” said Lowther.

Friday

Mont. Cortez 61, Rifle 43

FRUITA ” Four Cortez players, paced by Ryan Mortensen’s game-high 18 points, finished in double figures as the No. 2-seeded Panthers from the Southwestern League vaulted to a 61-43 win over Rifle in the semifinal round Friday.

Cortez put the game in the deep freeze by extending a two-point, first-quarter lead to 44-25 at the end of the third quarter.

Tyler Billie and Terri Steves netted 13 for the Panthers. Caleb Valdez added 12 points.

Senior Jim Owens led Rifle with 15 points. Four of Owens’ five field goals came from the three-point line.


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