Bears down Montrose
RIFLE, Colo. – Most nights, Drew Blatchford has one of the toughest jobs, defending the paint and trying to post up against centers six inches taller than him.On Tuesday night, playing against posts with equal height, the 6-2 junior recorded a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds, helping the Rifle Bears down Montrose 62-58 in a nonleague victory.”It’s nice for them to be undersized,” Blatchford said. “It’s a break.”Blatchford scored 12 of his points in the first half, including two long jumpers.”I am so proud of him,” Rifle head coach Chris Lowther said of Blatchford. “He’s a guy who could be a swing man (guard/forward) for other teams, but we just need him so bad as a post and he’s responded great to that.”Blatchford’s scoring was part of Rifle’s spread offensive attack in which seven Bears scored. Rifle drove and scored, drove and dished and ran a patient offense in the win. The team, which has been working on not taking forced shots, hardly took any.”We have kinda made a list of the eight or nine things that make a forced shot a forced shot and the kids have responded and not shot them,” Lowther said. “We feel like we can still score points, but we just want to be patient and not rush them.”Tyler Rust totaled 19 on the night, including two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, Scott Rust scored 16, Keenan Ross added seven, Zach Whitmore hit one field goal, and Anthony Cordova and Evan Muldoon each added one free throw.Despite being down 35-23 at half, Montrose fought back in the second half, closing the gap more and more each quarter.Josh Hansen, who scored 25 points for Montrose, hit a 3 to pull the Indians within three points with four minutes to go. Tyler Rust then scored five straight points, followed by two free throws by his older brother, and Rifle went up 62-54 with just under a minute left.Hansen then hit two free throws before draining another trey and Rifle’s lead was cut to four. But Rifle’s defense was able to hang on for the win.”We told them at halftime, ‘We are down 12, we aren’t going to get it all back at once. Just a little at a time, be patient,'” said Montrose head coach Dwight Rawlings. “I thought we did a better job in the second half, we just couldn’t get over that hump.”Rifle will next face Eagle Valley at home on Friday.
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