Bears take command against Kennedy |

Bears take command against Kennedy

Jon Mitchell
Rifle High School seniors Tanner Rust (14) and Wyatt Robinson (3) move the ball past Kennedy High School junior Christopher Avila (15) in Wednesday's Class 4A state tournament game at Rifle High School. The Bears won, 60-28.
Kelley Cox / |


KENNEDY (28) — Christopher Avila 4 0-2 11, Glenn Loya 3 3-3 10, Quancy Phillips 1 0-0 2, Maxmillian Wright 1 0-0 2, Dominic Lucero 0 2-2 2, Nicholas DeLeon 0 1-2 1, Daniel Medona 0 0-0 0, Aaron Aragon 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 6-10 28.

RIFLE (60) — Trenton Brown 3 4-7 12, Tanner Quick 5 1-5 11, Wyatt Robinson 5 0-2 11, Austin Boone 2 2-2 6, Tanner Rust 3 0-1 6, Luis Carreon 2 0-0 4, Clinton Farr 2 0-0 4, Nick Kosht 1 1-2 3, Cody Rice 1 0-0 2, Tyler Bosshardt 0 1-2 1, Morgan Robinson 0 0-0 0, Blaine Vance 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 9-21 60.

Kennedy 5 8 7 8 — 28

Rifle 16 17 9 18 — 60

3-point goals — Kennedy 4 (Avila 3, Loya), Rifle 3 (Brown 2, Robinson). Total fouls — Kennedy 21, Rifle 16. Fouled out — Loya, Avila.

RIFLE — Tanner Quick was pretty excited about the size advantage he had against Kennedy High School’s boys basketball team Wednesday night. That said, the Rifle High School senior made sure to take full advantage of it.

Quick, the Bears’ 6-foot-6 senior post, finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. And his presence in the middle was enough to disrupt the Commanders throughout the game during the Bears’ 60-28 victory in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament.

“When coach [Roger Walters] told me that their tallest guy was shorter than me, I was so happy,” a smiling Quick said after the game. “We’ve got 6-9 Garrett Bye from Steamboat and other 6-6s all over the league. Tonight was nice.”

It was nice in more ways than one for the Bears (18-4 overall), who distanced themselves in the last half of the first quarter thanks to a 12-2 run that gave them a 16-5 lead after the first eight minutes. And Rifle just built on it from there, as a last-second layup from Quick as the halftime buzzer sounded gave the 4A Western Slope League champions a 33-13 haftime lead against the overmatched Commanders (3-21).

It was a big change from the Bears’ first-round home game against Montrose last season, when Rifle lost, 56-46.

“Our best players did not show up last year against Montrose,” Walters said. “Tonight, our best players were dynamite, and I’m just really proud of how they played.”

The victory lifted the Bears into the state tournament’s second round against Mead (15-8), the third seed in the 12-team Guy Gibbs Region. Game time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday at D’Evelyn High School, with the winner facing either top-seeded D’Evelyn (18-5) or Falcon (14-10) at 6 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the tournament’s Great 8.

Trenton Brown added a game-high 12 points and Wyatt Robinson added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Bears, who also got three assists each from Robinson, Brown, Clinton Farr and Tanner Rust. The Bears’ 20 assists as a team were a season high.

Christopher Avila finished with 11 points and Glenn Loya added 10 for the Commanders, who were within a point of the Bears in the early stages of the game. But consecutive steals and layups from Farr sparked the Bears’ early run, giving them a big cushion they wouldn’t relinquish.

Rifle, which wore down Kennedy throughout the game, attacking the basket and finding wide-open shots, could take its time on offense. The game plan worked so well that the Bears were able to empty their bench after Quick’s final layup of the game with 5 minutes, 9 seconds remaining and Rifle up, 52-25.

“I think this gives our kids some confidence, and that’s all this bunch really needs,” Walters said of Friday’s second round.

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