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Rifle hopes veterans continue success

Phil Sandoval

RIFLE – There will be plenty of familiar faces on the court when Rifle tips off the 2004-05 girls basketball season this week.Having four seniors back from last year’s 19-5 state playoff club is a big plus to Bears head coach Rick Schmitz, who will turn to veterans Kristin Neffendorf, Renee Laudick, Haley Hubble and Montannah Mathies for leadership on the floor.”Having four seniors is a good thing,” Schmitz said. “No. 1, they are good kids and good people, and No. 2, they work extremely hard on basketball, are very committed and they don’t like to lose.”A fact, last year, that the teams in the Class 4A Western Slope League discovered.As juniors, the four players, help lift the Bears to a 12-0 mark in league play. But with the addition of Eagle Valley this year, the WSL will be tougher, Schmitz said.”Eagle Valley is good and they’re going to make an impact on our league,” he said. “They are going to make some noise, and they are going to be a tough team to beat.”Along with the rest of the league.”Moffat County has a lot of kids back. Year in and year out, Glenwood and Steamboat are tough. Palisade, with their new coach, is in the right direction, as is Delta,” the coach said.And, based on what Schmitz has seen in practice, the coach looks for good things to happen for this year’s Bears.”What I enjoy about coaching (this year’s) team is they come in wanting to practice. They enjoy playing together, enjoy working hard and they have a tremendous work ethic. The two hours of practice seems to go by in 10 minutes.”Neffendorf resumes her role as the Bears point guard. Hubble, Laudick and Matthies will be up front. The other member of the starting five will be Kristin Guettler, a sophomore.Additional players slated to see considerable time are juniors Amber Massey, Lindsay McCue-Locke and Jenna Pollard. Three freshman – Megan McWilliams, Chelsea Webb and Kendall Babbler – are in line to make the varsity roster.”We have a good mixture of younger and older kids,” Schmitz said. “It’s a nice mix, and it’s starting to come together.””We have a good mixture of younger and older kids,” Schmitz said. “It’s a nice mix, and it’s starting to come together.”


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