Rifle basketball team plays catch-up | PostIndependent.com

Rifle basketball team plays catch-up

RIFLE ” Jim Lowther won’t be in the gym, but, he’s going to be in each of Rifle’s boys basketball team and coaching staff’s hearts this season.

Lowther’s son, Chris, begins his fourth year as the Bears’ head coach, and the team has dedicated the 2005-06 season in memory of the coach’s father.

Jim Lowther died in June.

The team has been trying to catch up with itself due to the success of Rifle’s football team.

A dozen athletes, fresh off the gridiron from last weekend’s state championship game, reported to basketball practice Monday. Fortified by those numbers, Lowther is looking to fill a number of holes created by eight graduated seniors from the 2004-05 squad.

“Basically, we’re a little bit behind, but this is the time of year where who can do what and where the roles of each player on the team should come together,” said Lowther, who begins his fourth season as Bears head coach.

The late turnout has produced a large amount of guard prospects.

That group is headed by senior Stuart Stapleton, Rifle’s lone returning starter. Others in the mix for playing time include sophomore Scott Rust, who has recovered completely from last year’s mid-season ankle injury, and senior Bryce Enewold.

Two other Bear football players ” seniors Tyler Gose and Mitch Kosht, along with Stapleton, are receiving looks at forward.

The balance of the squad has yet to be determined, Lowther said. But, the work ethic at practice is encouraging.

“Every player that’s come out has worked very hard to make the team and contribute. We just go to see how the (new) numbers work out and make sure to make the best decision for the team.

Those who survive the final cuts have a tough schedule in front of them before shutting down for the mandatory winter break.

Rifle hosts Grand Junction Central Friday, then travel to Summit Dec. 13, followed by two days of games in Montrose at the Black Canyon Tournament on Dec. 16 and 17.

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