Gym should be `vibrating’ tonight
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Glenwood Springs and Rifle girls’ basketball teams turned up the heat on the area rivalry Thursday night. Tonight, it’s the boys’ turn in Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
“This is the game everyone comes to watch,” said Glenwood sophomore Sean Flohr, who, up until tonight, has always watched the varsity rivalry game from the stands. “If there’s one game people are going to come to, this is the one. Both towns end up filling the gym.”
Glenwood coach Roger Duroux has been through three seasons of the area rivalry as head coach and doesn’t expect tonight’s game to be any different as far as fan interest, particularly since the Glenwood (2-1 4A Western Slope League, 4-6 overall) and Rifle (3-0, 5-5) are separated by just one game in league standings.
Also, both squads come in with some momentum. The Demons won their last two games, while Rifle’s only loss in the last four contests was to Class 5A Fruita-Monument.
“I think you’re going to see the gym packed with both sides,” Duroux said. “This place will just be vibrating. With two teams this close it’s no problem to pack this gym, and it just gets rocking.”
And when the Chavez-Spencer Gym is packed, Rifle standout Ryan Shideler admits it can cause problems.
“It’s kind of tough to play in because it’s so small,” Shideler said of Chavez-Spencer. “It’s packed. The fans are out on the floor and the walls are kind of close and it looks kind of like a dungeon. The lights are kind of offset or something – one’s brighter than the other.”
Of course Shideler will likely cause some problems for Glenwood himself, as well. The senior center enters the contest averaging almost a double-double with 16.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. His scoring average in the three league games is even better, at 22.5 per game.
Timon Fish and Andrew Blake will likely spend much of their time trying to keep Shideler out of scoring position on the defensive end, but Duroux admits he will be a handful for any one player.
“It’s going to have to be a team effort,” Duroux said. “Shideler is going to be tough to control and we know that going in.”
The Demons, however, aren’t without their own offensive weapons.
Fish and Flohr, in particular, have upped their play recently, bringing the rest of the Demons with them.
The turning point came two weeks ago in Delta. A night after a disappointing home loss to Palisade, the Demons trailed Delta by double digits in the second half.
Flohr got Glenwood back in the game going 5-of-5 from beyond the arc in the third quarter, and finished with 25 points in the game. Fish sealed the 58-56 victory with a steal and layup in the final seconds.
Fish followed up that game with a team-high 19 points in the next game in a victory over Battle Mountain.
“That night (Flohr) was just amazing,” Duroux said. “… With the last second steal and layup (Fish’s) confidence just went through the roof and he’s picked everybody else’s game up, too. It’s a snowball thing and right now we’re playing like a team.”
While both Glenwood and Rifle have the luxury of only one game this weekend, neither coach would admit to any extraordinary changes for tonight’s game. It’s another game on the schedule and a win or loss isn’t weighted more in the final standing than any other win or loss.
There is, however, the issue of bragging rights and the excitement of playing in front of a large crowd.
“Each high school has these kinds of rivalries,” first-year Rifle coach Chris Lowther said. “I think the Rifle-Glenwood rivalry – from what I’ve heard – is as good as any of them. That’s something, as a coach, you look forward to. Just like the players, I’d much rather coach in a gym that’s packed and excited, than one that isn’t.”
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