Shorthanded Bears earn wrestling, hoop wins |

Shorthanded Bears earn wrestling, hoop wins

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox Rifle High School's Montanah Matthies looks for a shot in a recent game against Fruita.

Not at full strenght with injuries to key personnel, Rifle’s wrestling and girls basketball teams had enough to earn victories in important contests Saturday.Forced into leaving two weights open and covering another with a junior varsity replacement, the Bear wresters won four of five dual matches of the 12-team Rifle Invitational Tournament.Minus the services of state-ranked performers Casie Dunlap (elbow), Luke Wooten (knee) and heavyweight Andrew Stone, Rifle defeated Pine Creek, Elizabeth plus Pueblo Centennial and Pueblo West High Schools.The Bears lone tournament loss came against Class 5A Eaglecrest, 41-16.In the team standings, Rifle with 192 points took fifth place. Palisade won the team championship with 269 points. Meeker was second at 241 with Moffat County in third place.Timmy Long and Jeff Zimmerman went unbeaten in the tournament with five wins each.Long, Rifle’s 135-pound wrestler, got three of his victories by pinning his opponent. His quickest victory of the day came in 36 seconds against Steven Long of Pueblo West. Zimmerman, who competes in the 215 pound division, also won three matches by pinfall. Two of Zimmerman’s wins took less than a minute to decide. Against Pueblo West, the Bear senior put away Bowe Reed in 40 seconds, and earned a 45-second decision over Pueblo Centennial’s Grayson McCauley.Three Rifle wrestlers – Alex Avila, Tyler Thompson and Derek Fruetel went 4-of-5 in their individual matches.Earlier last week, the Bears won league dual meets over host Steamboat Springs and Battle Mountain. Rifle travels to Longmont for a tournament Saturday.

Bear girls add to win streakSaturday’s 67-43 win at Palisade, combined with Friday’s 70-34 victory over Delta Friday raised Rifle’s current win streak to 11 straight games and more importantly, maintained its share of first place in the 4A Western Slope League.As usual, the Bears (5-0 WSL, 11-2 overall) earned the win with defense.Limiting Palisade to 14 points in the first half, Rifle took a 20-point lead at halftime. Overall, the Bulldogs coverted 15-of-56 field goal attempts.Minus starters Kristin Guettler (foot) and Haley Hubble (knee), veterans Montanah Matthies and Renee Laudick filled the void.Matthies had a game-high 16 points with eight rebounds. Laudick scored 10 and pulled down 13 rebounds.Guettler is scheduled to return to the lineup for this weekend’s critical league games at league co-leader Moffat County Friday, followed by Saturday’s home contest against Steamboat.Hubble, after successful surgery, might return as soon as mid-February.Rifle boys continue winning waysStop calling the 2004-05 Bear boys a surprise team. After downing Delta, 60-55 and Palisade, 57-34, in back-to-back road games Friday and Saturday, Rifle (5-0, 9-4) are tied with Steamboat for first place in the WSL.

The deadlock among the two teams will be broken after Saturday’s game in Steamboat, prior to that match, the Bears host Moffat County Friday.Adam Krick led with 17 points in Palisade game. Guard Brandon Leuallen and forward Travis Jensen added 10 points each.Rifle’s defense was also sharp, forcing the Bulldogs into 26 turnovers.Cardinals down West Grand, split at MeekerThe Grand Valley girls responded to a loss against Class 3A Hotchkiss with victories over league rivals Meeker and West Grand Friday and Saturday.Playing at the Cowboys smallish gym, the Cardinals exited with a tight 45-42 win. Returning to their friendly digs in Parachute, Jamie Vance ripped the Mustangs defense for 25 points in a 65-32 rout.Julianna Jones had 13 in the game, which raised Grand Valley record to 5-0 in the 2A Western Slope League and 10-3 on the year.The boys also had success at home, outlasting West Grand 71-63. Dylan Culver and a big night, with 25 points, which included six 3-point field goals. Luke Braby added 14. On Friday, the Cardinals, after leading by as many as five points, in the second half, loss 62-58 to Meeker in overtime. Sophomore Sam McKinley had a team-high 20 points with 10 rebounds. Culver finished with 14. Taylor Prince also ended in double-figures with 10 points.

Basalt boys zoom into second placeLook out. After struggling in the early portion of the year, the Basalt Longhorns have risen their way into second place in the Class 3A Western Slope League.Victories over Aspen and Cedaredge, upped Basalt’s league mark to 4-1 (6-5 overall) and hold a half-game lead over the third-place Bruins in the standings.Ben Pollock scored 13 points and Jesse Regan chipped in with 10 in Friday’s 42-34 low-scoring contest at BHS’ “Big House.”The Longhorns ratched its offense up a notch the next day at Cedaredge.Pollack upped his totals to 26 against the Bruins as the Longhorns recieved additional help from Darren Duroux’s 15-point effort and 10-point games by Cody Burkholder and Riley Eaton.The Longhorn girls had a tough weekend, losing both its games to Aspen, 43-32 and Cedaredge, 67-55. Basalt slips to 2-3 in league and 3-8 overall.

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