Rifle to take on Mountain Range in tournament | PostIndependent.com

Rifle to take on Mountain Range in tournament

Joelle Milholm
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE ” If you are just looking at records, it doesn’t make very much sense that the 12-10 Rifle girls basketball team, one that earned a No. 8 seed in the Class 4A state tournament and a home game in the first round, drew 16-4 Mountain Range.

But it does after taking a look at the two team’s schedules. The Bears faced three 5A teams, plus a handful of top-ranked 4A teams like Montrose, Glenwood Springs and Moffat County ” twice each.

Mountain Range, a new Westminster school who plays in the Skyline Conference, played five 3A squads and two 2A teams ” which accounted for six of its wins. Mountain Range doesn’t have seniors, they are just starting out and have a squad with three juniors, two sophomores and seven freshman.

Rifle on the other hand, has three seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.

Tonight the teams with different backgrounds will clash in the first round of the tournament at Rifle High School.

“We have three established seniors (Megan McWilliams, Chelsea Webb and Alissa Skinner), who have done this before. I hope that experience helps us,” said Rifle head coach Brad Skinner.

While the teams have almost opposite rosters and opponents, their styles of play are almost one in the same.

“I have heard they are very fast, athletic, very well-coached, they like to shoot the 3, they run the floor and they have good defensive pressure,” Skinner said. “We are very similar.”

The fast-paced Bears are lead by their center McWilliams, who despite her 5-foot-7 frame ranks among state leaders in rebounds with an average of 9.5 per game. The senior also leads Rifle in points per game (9.1), assists average per game (2.6) and steals (3.7) per contest.

Mountain Range’s roster lists a 5-11 center in Amanda Kuhl, but Skinner says that one tall girl is much easier to deal with then some of the teams the Bears faced this year with even bigger girls and sometimes two of them. Outside of the minimal size difference and Rifle’s experience, Skinner is hoping one more factor will give the Bears an advantage.

“I hope we have a good number of fans and get some yelling and screaming,” he said.

The Bears and Mustangs will take the court at 7 p.m., hoping to advance to the next round where No. 1-seeded Golden (19-4) is awaiting the winner. That game will be played at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Golden. For McWilliams, Webb and Skinner, it’s do-or-die time and they know it.

“They are ready,” Coach Skinner said of his seniors. “They are hoping we can get on a run, but they also know if they don’t play well tomorrow we are done. They are very focused right now.”

Rams host Olathe, Titans host Cedaredge

This will be the first Class 3A District 2 boys basketball tournament in four years where Roaring Fork won’t be the No. 1 seed, but the Rams still have a lot going for them.

They have a home game in the first round and they play a team with only three victories this season as Roaring Fork, the No. 2 seed, will host No. 7 Olathe at 7 p.m. tonight.

The Rams (11-3 WSL, 15-4 overall) will look to beat the Pirates (3-11 WSL, 3-15 overall) as handily as they did both times they faced during the regular season ” where the Rams combined for a 52-point margin of victory. Olathe will be trying to find ways to stop Roaring Fork’s seniors Matthias Weissl, a guard who is third in the state in 3A in scoring with over 22 points per game, and 6-foot-8 center Torrey Udall, who is ranked 12th in the state in scoring with a 17.58 points per game average.

Coal Ridge will also be involved in 3A District 2 action tonight, as it hosts Cedaredge at 7 p.m. With the Titans earning the No. 4 seed and Cedaredge being at No. 5, this match-up figures to be a little closer than the Rams-Pirates showdown ” especially when you look at the teams’ track record this season. On Jan. 11, Coal Ridge beat the Bruins 69-67, then edged them again on Feb. 2 55-53.

While the Titans’ regular season records of 8-6 in league and 12-7 overall, tower over Cedaredge’s 5-9 WSL and 5-13 marks, the Bruins were the only WSL team besides Aspen to beat Roaring Fork.

Both the Rams and Titans are looking for a spot in the district tournament’s semifinals to be played at Palisade on Friday night. The winner of the Rams-Pirates contest will take on the winner of the Gunnison-Basalt match-up, while the winner of the Titans-Bruins game will face the winner of the Aspen-Hotchkiss contest.

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