Bears, Demons set for round two |

Bears, Demons set for round two

It will be tough to match the excitement of the first meeting, but the Glenwood Springs and Rifle boys basketball teams will play the second round of their rivalry series tonight in Rifle.

Just as Chavez-Spencer was for the first contest, the Bear Lair will undoubtedly be packed to the rafters with fans from both sides. So, for those wanting a seat, plan on arriving well before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff time.

When the two teams met three weeks ago it took a last-second block by Rifle’s Ryan Shideler and some timely shooting by Jim Owens to secure a 44-42 victory for the Bears over Glenwood.

Both teams have upped their level of play since the game. After the scare, Rifle (8-0 Western Slope League, 10-5 overall) has kept it’s bid for an undefeated WSL record intact with four straight victories.

Glenwood (5-3, 7-8) has won three of its last four games, including possibly its best performance of the season, a 50-45 victory over Steamboat Springs.

In their first meeting, the Demon defense keyed on Shideler. The strategy worked in a first half in which the center only netted four points. But Shideler scored 10 in the second half and also had the key block on Marco Salmen to end the contest.

Similarly, the Bears kept a watchful eye on Glenwood’s long-range shooter, Sean Flohr. And, like Shideler, the sophomore came alive after the intermission with 12 of his game-high 15 points.

Shideler leads the Bears scoring with over 16 points per game and Flohr is also the top scorer for his team with over 13 points per game. But, like the first contest, it will likely be the other players on the court who decide the outcome.

Owens was a key factor for Rifle in the first meeting with 11 points, including five in the final minute. Timon Fish and Andrew Blake notched 10 and eight points, respectively, for Glenwood, while also being responsible for putting the shackles on Shideler.

While it’s unlikely either team will look past tonight’s game, it begins a tough final stretch for both teams.

Rifle and Glenwood share the same opponents in the final three games of the season, and, including tonight, three of the final four games are against the top half of the league. The only opponent in the string with a losing record is Battle Mountain (1-7).

Rifle is currently atop the league standings, followed by Moffat County (7-1), Glenwood and Steamboat Springs (4-4).

Rifle plays at Battle Mountain Saturday then wraps up the season with home games against Moffat and Steamboat the following weekend. Either game could decide the regular-season league title.

Glenwood faces Battle Mountain Friday, then travels to Steamboat the following Friday before finishing the season with a home contest against Moffat County the next night.

In an odd twist, if the Bears should slip up once in the final four games, they will likely find themselves rooting for archrival Glenwood over Moffat in the final game of the season.

The same holds true for Glenwood. The Demons could conceivably catch Moffat County for second place in the league if Rifle beats the Bulldogs.

Contact G. Sean Kelly: 945-8515, ext. 515

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