Wildcats score 80 to beat Bears

Joelle Milholm
Post Independent Staff

RIFLE ” Rifle’s cold shooting didn’t mesh well with Fruita’s on-the-mark shots and strong inside play as the Wildcats downed the Bears boys basketball team 80-60 on Tuesday night.

Six-foot-4 Beau Coit towered in the middle for the Wildcats, scoring 20 points and dominating the paint. Alex Mende threw in another 10 points in the key for Fruita, while Nick Hensley and Colton Warneke also hit double digits.

“We gave them a lot of shots. …We gave them too many possessions. We’ve got to control the ball more so they don’t have the ball as much,” said Rifle head coach Chris Lowther. “That’s the only team way we can hold a team like that to the number of points we want to. Eighty points is unacceptable.”

From the line the Bears were very effective, making 16 of 21 attempts. However field goals and 3-pointers were a different story. No matter how good the looks were, Rifle’s shots just wouldn’t fall. Lowther is hoping his squad, which often ran down the court and shot immediately, can slow the ball down more in the future and run through its offense.

“A quick shot is almost like a turnover sometimes, if it comes off long on the rebound or something and they are running the other way on us,” he said.

Eric Laudick, who totaled nine rebounds, and Scott Rust, who drained two 3s in the contest, each scored 19 points for the Bears, with most of those coming on fast-break layups.

“Rust, he’s tough,” said Fruita head coach Dave Fox. “He’s a really good player and tough to guard.”

Keenan Ross added 11 points for Rifle.

Fruita (3-1) was on target from tip off and took a 11-2 lead that Rifle (1-1) never recovered from. Every time Rifle would catch a break, the Bears would commit a string of turnovers, usually resulting in Wildcat points to sustain Fruita’s lead.

“We had them outsized and that was helpful,” Fox said. “They are tough to play because they want a really big tempo and go, and we got a little caught up in that and went up and down the floor with them. They really are tough.

The Bears had eight steals of their own, but often times turned it right back over in attempt to hurry the ball down the court.

“I thought we hustled on defense, but when you are giving them so many possessions, it’s hard to defend that much,” Lowther said.

Rust hit a 3 to open the third quarter and cut Fruita’s lead to 57-43, but the Bears couldn’t shrink the margin anymore in the second half.

The Bears will take on another tough opponent in Grand Junction Central at 7 p.m. on Friday night in Rifle.

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