Rifle girls hoops tripped up by Kadets in 4A round of 16
On the road Tuesday night for a round of 16 game against the No. 3 Air Academy Kadets, the No. 14 Rifle Bears’ girls basketball team dropped a tough 42-25 decision to the Kadets, ending an impressive season for the Bears under head coach Kristy Wallner.
Last season, Rifle found itself in a similar situation against the Kadets in Colorado Springs, pulling off the upset win to reach the Great Eight.
That wasn’t in the cards Tuesday night in the round of 16 matchup.
Rifle held a lead of 7-3 after one quarter of play, thanks to two 3-pointers from senior guard Karly Manuppella and a free throw from senior guard Katy Manuppella. But the Kadets stormed back in the second quarter to take an 18-12 lead at the half, before pulling away for a 32-18 lead after three quarters on the way to the 17-point win.
In a 15-point second quarter, Air Academy received 7 points from junior guard Kayla Nocon, and 5 points from junior guard Liza Louthan, pacing the Kadets to the halftime lead.
Senior forward Mary Parchinski then poured in 7 points in the third quarter as the Kadets pulled away for good from the Bears.
Rifle received 9 points from senior Elly Walters, who closes out an amazing career with the Bears, finishing with 1,448 career points. Along with Walters, Karly Manuppella finished with 6 points, while Katy Manuppella and junior Masi Smith added 4 points each.
Air Academy was led by Parchinski’s 12 points, while Louthan added 9 points. Nocon finished with 7 points.
The loss wraps up a season in which the Bears finish 22-3, including a mark of 11-1 in the 4A Western Slope League, in which they won the league championship for the second year in a row.
Rifle and Kristy Wallner now say goodbye to Walters, Katy and Karly Manuppella and Peyton Caldwell with the loss. Combined, the four seniors won 20-plus games in two straight seasons.