Bears pick up pair of wins in Rifle |

Bears pick up pair of wins in Rifle

Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent

RIFLE ” The outcome was really never in doubt on Saturday afternoon at Rifle High School as the Bears girls basketball team jumped on the Huskies from Battle Mountain early, and often, en route to an easy 54-33 victory.

The win upped the Bears’ record to 10-8 overall and to 7-3 in the 4A Western Slope League, but, more importantly, gave them a welcome shot of confidence heading into the season’s stretch run.

Rifle head coach Brad Skinner was pleased with the performance of his team, but still sees room for improvement before the state playoffs begin in late February.

“I’m pleased,” he said. “The kids are working hard. The things we’re working on in practice are happening in the games.”

Rifle’s senior captain trio of Chelsea Webb, Alissa Skinner, and Megan McWilliams agreed with their coach when looking at the season to this point.

“We’re happy with where we are at,” the three Bear captains agree. “If we can win the rest of our games, we’ll finish the season with the same record as last year.”

Despite facing a 33-6 halftime deficit, Battle Mountain wasn’t quite ready to throw in the towel.

Senior guard Emily Lybarger, who garnered the game’s scoring honors with 19 points, led a spirited Husky charge which saw the visitors outscore Rifle in the second half.

It was an effort that left Battle Mountain head coach Andrew Schmit wondering what his team could accomplish if it put an entire game of solid play together.

“I’m disappointed that we can’t seem to put four quarters together,” said the

second-year Huskies coach. “Maybe we’re just a little rusty to start things after not

having a game on Friday.”

Point guard Chelsea Webb had a nice all-around game and led Rifle in scoring with

12 points. The winning cause was helped by a couple of freshmen as Cortney

Cordova and Ciara Euler pitched in 10 and 8 points, respectively.

The Bears will now ready for Friday’s trip up the interstate to face the rival Demons in

Glenwood Springs.

About the only negative to Saturday’s basketball game with Battle Mountain for the Rifle boys basketball team was the first 40 seconds.

Some careless defensive miscues and a 5-0 deficit forced Bear head coach Chris Lowther to use a quick timeout with less than a minute having expired on the clock.

“I just wanted to remind them about some of Battle Mountain’s shooters and what our game plan was on them,” said Lowther.

It didn’t take the Bears long to right the ship as they upped the tempo and set their

usual torrid pace in clobbering Battle Mountain by a 91-47 final.

There were a host of players wearing the Rifle uniform who made big contributions

on the night.

Steady guard Scott Rust led the scoring barrage with 19 points. He was followed, in

order, by Keenan Ross and Eric Laudick, who each dropped in 15 points. Hazen

Moss had 12 points and Tyler Rust helped with 10 points for the Bears, now 11-7

overall and 8-2 in the 4A WSL.

Throughout most of the contest, the Huskies looked overmatched and out of sorts.

They committed turnovers, struggled to get off shots and had trouble matching up

with the speed and quickness of Rifle.

Seniors Kyle Woolley and Ashlin Romero did keep Battle Mountain within shouting

distance early on, but when Rifle opened the third quarter with 3-pointers from

Keenan Ross and Tyler Rust, the Bears had extended their lead to 44-23.

The count ballooned to 67-31 late in the same quarter when Ross drove the baseline

and kicked the ball outside to a wide open Hazen Moss, who netted a 3-pointer and

sent the Bears into the final frame with a head of steam.

Rifle kept a firm hold on second place in the WSL with the victory. Next up for the

Bears is a showdown this coming Friday in Glenwood, where a new gymnasium will

be fittingly christened with a Demons-Bears matchup.

“The boys are looking forward to playing in the new gym,” said Lowther. “It will be


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