Rifle boys fall against Golden
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GOLDEN ” Applying a tough defense and using its speed efficiently, the Rifle boys basketball team did everything it could to pull out an upset over Golden in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Bears, their efforts came up just shy as Rifle’s season came to an end with a 58-53 loss to the Demons.
“They played hard. I am very proud of them,” said Rifle head coach Chris Lowther. “Golden pressed a lot all over the court and made us make a few turnovers, but they hung in there and stayed with them and made it go down to the end.”
The Bears were up 25-24 at halftime and even worked to three ties in the fourth quarter. The last tie came when the game was locked at 50 and despite four straight points by Golden, Rifle wasn’t ready to give up.
Scott Rust hit a free throw and then Drew Blatchford hit a turnaround jumper to cut the Demons’ lead to 54-53 with 1:40 left. Rifle tried to force a turnover on Golden’s next possession, but was forced to foul. Demon Alex Miller hit both of his attempts from the charity stripe, putting Golden up 56-53 with 25 seconds left.
The Bears tried to hit a 3-pointer on their next possession, but it didn’t fall and Golden made its next two free throws to seal the deal.
The loss ended the No. 6-seeded Bears’ season with a 15-9 mark, while No. 3 Evergreen (19-5) will advance to the Sweet 16.
It was the final high school basketball game in the impressive careers of Rust, Blatchford, Keenan Ross, Hazen Moss and Justin Stone.
“This is the senior class that I have been watching since sixth and seventh grade,” Lowther said of his seniors. “I have watched them mature and I thought they matured a lot this year. They are going to be missed, but they helped bring this program up and I think the younger kids learned a lot from them.”
On Friday, Blatchford and Ross each scored 12 points to lead the Bears in scoring, while Tyler Rust scored nine and Scott Rust and Eric Laudick each totaled eight.
In other Class 4A boys playoff action, Steamboat Springs, the Western Slope League Champion, defeated Fort Morgan 54-36 on Friday to advance to the Sweet 16. The Sailors are the only WSL boys team still alive in the tournament.
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