Rifle looks to clip Eagles
It will be a homecoming for Chris Lowther when he brings the Rifle boys basketball team to Broomfield High School for its first-round state playoff game tonight.
But, how friendly of a homecoming it will be for Lowther, Rifle’s head coach and Broomfield High grad, will depend on the final score.
Tipoff for tonight’s game is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Despite the Bears recent two-game skid at last week’s Class 4A, District 7 tournament in Grand Junction, Lowther is confident the No. 27 seeded Bears will give the No. 6 Eagles a challenge.
“It should be a good game,” said Lowther. “They are very athletic, very well coached and they do not throw the ball away a lot,” he said of the 17-5 Eagles.
The Bears coach said he sees a lot of similarities in the teams. Statistics prove Lowther’s point.
Both squads have players among the Top 20 scoring leaders in 4A, according to the Rocky Mountain News.
Rifle senior Ryan Schideler averages a shade over 17.5 points a game for the 15-7 Bears. Broomfield counters with 6-foot, 5-inch senior Michael Bahl, with a 17.4 point per game average, and senior Chase McBride, who averages 17 points a game.
Broomfield also enters tonight’s game as the hot team.
The Eagles, who defeated Northridge of Greeley for the District 3 title last weekend, currently have an 11-game winning streak.
Rifle is on the opposite side of the ledger.
After a tougher-than-expected 58-37 win over Battle Mountain in the first round at districts, the Bears lost back-to-back contests against Steamboat Springs and Moffat County to finish fourth in the eight-team tournament.
“Our rebounding and shooting was not as consistent and the other teams shot the ball much better at districts,” Lowther said. “We let some real good opportunities get by.”
Lowther said the Bears defense “is still pretty solid,” and looks for a turnaround to form against Broomfield.
“I’m confident in what the team can do,” the coach said.
If Rifle wins, the Bears remain on the road.
The winner of tonight’s game plays the winner of the Berthoud (19-3) vs. Northridge (13-9) contest on Friday in Berthoud or Greeley.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.