Rifle boys score first win in 5 years over rival Glenwood Demons, 56-50
The Rifle and Glenwood Springs boys basketball teams staged another in a long line of hard-fought and down-to-the-wire games Tuesday evening at Glenwood’s Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium, with the Bears managing to hold on for a 56-50 WSL win.
Though the rival teams aren’t in the mix for the 4A Western Slope League crown in this truncated season, it was the first time Rifle has prevailed over Glenwood Springs in five years. The last Bears win was on Jan. 19, 2016, also on the Demons’ home court, 72-60.
In the Tuesday showdown, Glenwood led after each of the first three quarters of play, but Rifle came on strong when it was needed most in the final stanza, outscoring the Demons 23-15 to complete the season sweep of their rivals.
Tido Ruiz, who led Rifle in scoring with 21 points, came up big in the fourth quarter for the Bears, as did Kade Bishop with his work under the basket.
It was a 4-point play by Brock Caldwell to close out the third period for Rifle that started the rallying spark and pulled the Bears to within 35-33 with 8 minutes to play.
With Rifle up 50-44 in the closing minutes, Glenwood got a couple of quick scores underneath from junior forward Blake Nieslanik to pull the Demons to within a basket of the visitors.
Rifle managed to hit some late free throws and the Demons were unable to convert from the field.
Nieslanik and junior guard Reid Swanson topped Glenwood’s scoring with 11 counters each.
Rifle (5-5 overall, 4-4 league has Palisade at home Thursday and closes out the season on the road at Summit on Friday.
Girls: Glenwood 32, Rifle 25
The Rifle-Glenwood girls game Tuesday carried major implications in the WSL standings. In the end, it was the host Lady Demons who vaulted into a tie for first place with a 32-25 win.
Glenwood took the lead early in the contest and never looked back, controlling the boards and getting several second-chance scoring opportunities to dominate the game.
“Glenwood got to shoot the ball more than we did tonight,” Rifle coach Eric Caro said. “They got three rebounds on their first offensive possession of the game, and that just continued throughout. Glenwood did a good job tonight.”
The Bears managed to hang close to the Demons, but could never quite make a decisive run to cut the Glenwood advantage.
Jamie Caron, who led Rifle in scoring with 15 points, brought the Bears to within 28-23 when she was fouled while swishing a 3-pointer and then stepped to the line to convert the charity toss. A layup by junior guard Ella Johnson and a couple of free throws by sophomore Joslyn Spires helped to seal the win for the Demons.
The Lady Bears (8-4, 8-2 WSL) have a big game Thursday at home against Palisade to keep their league hopes alive, and finish the regular season on the road at Summit on Friday.
Glenwood (6-4, 6-2) finishes at Eagle Valley on Friday night and is at Battle Mountain on Saturday. The Lady Demons can take the league title by winning out.
Coal Ridge hanging tough
The Coal Ridge boys and girls, who stand among the 3A WSL leaders headed into the home stretch this week, had a pair of road games against 4A opponents Monday night.
The Titan boys took the No. 1 team in the state, Steamboat Springs, to the wire before falling 54-51, and the girls prevailed over Grand Junction, 40-34.
Against Steamboat, Coal Ridge raced out to an 18-6 lead after the first quarter, but let the host team back in it with a slim 26-25 halftime advantage. The Titans added to the lead in the third period, but it was Steamboat down the stretch to secure the 3-point win.
Senior Andrew Herrera paced the Titans with 17 points, and senior Karsen DuBois had 10.
At Coal Ridge 9-3 overall and 5-1 in league, the Titans are sitting pretty for the WSL title with a big game at home versus Roaring Fork Saturday afternoon.
The Coal Ridge girls controlled the pace from the opening tip against Grand Junction, opening a 13-2 lead after 8 minutes of play and holding on for the 6-point win. Senior Taylor Wiescamp was huge for the Titans, scoring 17 points on the night.
The Lady Titans (9-3, 2-3) also close out the season at home against Roaring Fork on Saturday.
Grand Valley teams split at Grand Junction
In other Tuesday night action, the Grand Valley Cardinals split their date with the Grand Junction Tigers, with the girls winning 53-28, and the boys falling 53-40.
The Grand Valley boys (1-11, 0-5) and girls (7-5, 1-3) both close out the season at Delta on Friday and back home versus Gunnison on Saturday.
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