PREP ROUNDUP: Rifle girls lock up 4A WSL title; Rams sweep Saints | PostIndependent.com

PREP ROUNDUP: Rifle girls lock up 4A WSL title; Rams sweep Saints

Members of the Rifle Bears' girls basketball team celebrate its second consecutive 4A Western Slope League championship. Rifle sits a perfect 11-0 in league play.
Darcy Copeland |

With the magic number down to one game for the Rifle Bears’ girls basketball team to clinch its second straight 4A Western Slope League championship, the veteran group came out fast and furious to dispatch the visiting Steamboat Springs Sailors Tuesday night inside Jack Smith Gymnasium, 69-22.

A fast-paced first quarter of action led to a 25-2 lead for the Bears after eight minutes of play as senior guard Elly Walters scored 11 points in the opening quarter, while senior Peyton Caldwell hit a 3-pointer and twin senior guards Katy and Karly Manuppella added four points each in the first quarter to help Rifle race out to the 23-point lead.

The Bears kept up the pressure and the pace in the second quarter, scoring 16 points as a team to take a 41-7 lead into the half. Resting the starters for most of the second quarter, Rifle Head Coach Kristy Wallner turned to her bench and received 2 points from sophomore Delaney Phillips and 3 points from sophomore Natalie Schauster, balancing the scoring output for the Bears.

With the lead well in hand and halfway to a second straight 4A Western Slope League championship, the Bears continued to pour it on, scoring 17 points in the third quarter and 11 points in the fourth quarter to cruise to the 47-point win, locking up the championship on home floor once again.

Against the Sailors, Walters led the way with 25 points on Senior Night, hitting five 3-pointers, while Katy Manuppella poured in 10 points on her special night as well. Karly Manuppella added 8 points, while Caldwell and junior Masi Smith added 7 points each. Schauster led the reserves with 5 points, while Phillips and freshman Mackenzie Elizardo added 2 points each.

Rifle (20-1, 11-0 4A WSL) looks to cap off the season undefeated in league play Thursday evening as they travel to Glenwood Springs for a rivalry matchup with the Demons at 6 p.m.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

ROARING FORK 55, VAIL CHRISTIAN 44

Hitting the road Tuesday evening for a trip to Vail to take on the Vail Christian Saints in nonconference action, the Roaring Fork Rams’ girls basketball team picked up a big 55-44 win, thanks to 16 points from junior point guard Logan Erickson, and 15 points from junior center Gabby Santana.

The Rams scored in double figures in each quarter, highlighted by a 17-point fourth quarter to pull away from the Saints for good.

Against Vail Christian, Erickson hit four 3-pointers, including two in the third quarter, while connecting on 4-of-7 free throws in the final quarter of action to pace the Roaring Fork attack. Santana scored six of her 15 points in the third quarter, going 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the process, while sophomore guard Emily Broadhurst and junior forward Kendall Bernot added 9 and 8 points, respectively, for the Rams.

As a team, Roaring Fork converted 14 of 23 free throw attempts in the win. Senior Megan Nieslanik and sophomore Caroline Wisroth also cracked the score sheet for the Rams, adding 4 and 2 points.

Roaring Fork (10-7, 3-4 3A WSL) will travel to Cedaredge Friday night for a league matchup with the Bruins.

BOYS BASKETBALL

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS 48, RIFLE 45

Hosting the Steamboat Springs Sailors Tuesday evening on Senior Night at Rifle High School, the Rifle Bears’ boys basketball team dropped a tough 48-45 decision to the Sailors despite getting a career-high 16 points from senior guard Jacob Seeman.

The Bears held a 28-19 lead at the half as Seeman hit two 3-pointers in the first half, while senior center Blake Swasey hit a 3-pointer and junior forward Joel Lopez poured in five second-quarter points. But the Bears ran into trouble in the second half in the shape of the free throw line, where the Sailors did damage to pull back in front, thanks to Tyler Doyne connecting on 11-of-15 free throws in the second half, helping the Sailors outscore the Bears 21-10 in the final quarter of action.

In the loss, Seeman led the way with 16 points in his final home game as a Bear, while Swasey and senior Evan Gray added 10 and 8 points, respectively.

ROARING FORK 56, VAIL CHRISTIAN 47

On the road Tuesday evening for a nonconference matchup with the Vail Chrisitan Saints, the Roaring Fork Rams’ boys basketball team pulled out a 56-47 win, thanks to 22 points from senior forward Justin Thompson and 16 points from junior Joe Salinas.

Thompson went 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to led the Rams to the win, while Salinas knocked down two 3-pointers in the final eight minutes of action.

Senior forward Aidan Sloan added 8 points for the Rams, while junior guard Oscar Miranda chipped in with 4 points.

Roaring Fork (16-2, 6-1 3A WSL) travels to Cedaredge Friday night for a pivotal 3A WSL matchup with the Bruins.