Palisade sends Rifle girls into 3rd-place game
GRAND JUNCTION – The Rifle High girls basketball team, seeded sixth in the 4A Western Slope League district tournament and coming off an overtime upset of No. 2 Glenwood Springs, weren’t able to ride that momentum into the semifinals Friday.
Rifle missed its first 13 shots and lost to league champion Palisade, 36-25, in semifinal action at Brownson Arena.
The opening deficit reached 11-0 before Whitney Vance got the Bears (13-9) on the scoreboard with 3 minutes, 23 seconds remaining in the first half.
A third-quarter run by Bears nearly made a game of it after a first half filled with frustration, but No. 2 Palisade (20-2) withstood the charge, to move into Saturday’s district championship game against Durango.
The Bulldogs extended their 13-2 halftime lead to 16 before Kenia Chavez swished a 3-pointer to start a 16-6 Rifle run with freshman Elly Walters and sophomore Samantha Hinkle combining for the other 13 points. The Bears closed the gap to 28-22 with 5:35 left in the game, before Palisade put up a stop sign with nine consecutive points.
Sophomore Christa Brown led the Bulldogs with 12 points, with junior Ashlyn Brown adding 11. Hinkle and Walters each tallied 10 for the Bears after going scoreless in the first half.
Rifle, which qualified for the state tournament bracket to be announced on Sunday, will play for third place at 11 a.m. today at against No. 1 seed Montrose (16-5), which lost 39-24 for the second straight time to No. 4 Durango (16-6). The Demons, who finished third in the 4A/5A Southwest League, will meet Palisade for the championship at 2 p.m.
After Friday’s first round 44-30 overtime win over No. 3 seed Glenwood Springs, Rifle coach Kristy Wallner said the win was so much more meaningful “because of the kind of program they [Glenwood] have. They‘ve been good for a lot of years and are very classy. We have a lot of respect for them. They win with class and lose with class. I feel bad for their seniors.”
BOYS: DURANGO 51, GLENWOOD SPRINGS 37
GRAND JUNCTION — Playing in the hybrid Southwest League proved to be a good training ground for the Durango Demons, who despite an overall losing record, defeated the Glenwood Springs boys 51-37 Friday at Brownson Arena to advance to the championship of the district tournament .
Durango (11-12), seeded fourth in the tourney, led by three at half, but scored the first nine points of the third quarter and led by as much as thirteen before a late rush by Cameron Horning, including a trey just before the buzzer sliced the lead to 39-32.
Horning opened the final frame with another 3, cutting Durango’s lead to four points, but Glenwood wouldn’t score again for nearly six minutes. The deficit slowly moved to 10 as Durango made 3-of-7 free throws. Jake Gentry’s jumper with two minutes to go finally broke Glenwood’s scoreless string, but missing their last five from beyond the arc doomed the WSL regular-season champs to the third place game at 12:30 p.m. today.
Horning led the Demons with 12, followed by eight from Zack Peterson. Nate Atencio had 14 for Durango.
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