Rifle outlasts Huskies
For that matter, no one in the gym had it on track last night. The crowd was flat, Rifle played an average game, at best. Even the dance team had troubles when the sound guy struggled, for what seemed like hours at halftime, to get the music for its routine going.
The bottom line for the Huskies was that the ball was not going in the hoop.
“I thought the guys had some good looks,” said Huskies’ coach Philip Tronsrue. “But, you are going to have those nights when the shots aren’t falling.”
The first quarter was dominated by defense, as senior Blake Gammon managed to disrupt the offense of the Bears and force multiple turnovers. However, Battle Mountain failed to convert on many of those turnovers, and wound up trailing 14-11 after the first quarter.
Then, in the second quarter, the offensive lethargy set in.
Offensive possession after offensive possession resulted in a one-and-out for the Huskies.
On the other end, Rifle routinely worked the ball into the post to No. 11 Ryan Shideler for easy baskets. Shindeler would finish with a game-high 21 points.
The Huskies did manage to cut the lead to four off an Andrew Feldman steal and an ensuing alley-oop pass to Gammon. Nonetheless, at the end of two, it was 22-16 in favor of Rifle, as the Huskies scored just five points in the quarter.
At the start of the third, the two bright spots for the Huskies, Gammon and Freshman Connor Drumm, seemed as though they would help their team back into the game.
Drumm hit Gammon on a breakaway for an easy deuce. Then Connor took the ball in low and hit a sweet-fadeaway jumper. All of the sudden, Battle Mountain was right back in the game.
“Blake always comes out and plays hard for us,” said Tronsrue after the game. “And Connor is doing some good things for us as well. He has a lot of good basketball ahead of him.”
Gammon would wind up with 11 points on the night, and Drumm nine, but Battle Mountain still trailed 38-27 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter would hold more of the same for the Huskies, as their shooting woes continued. That, combined with some silly fouls, allowed Rifle to pull away.
The Bears would dominate the offensive glass as time ticked down on the game, getting easy putbacks and sealing the victory.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel for the Huskies, though, as they conclude the regular season with a home game against Palisade Friday, and a road test against Delta the following night.
“If we can beat Palisade and Delta, we could get as high as the seventh seed for districts,” said Tronsrue. “That’s been our goal for the end of the season. It would give us a couple of wins going into the tournament and some momentum.”
Tipoff against Palisade is Friday night at 7:30.
In other action Saturday night, the Rifle girls basketball team defeated the Lady Huskies 69-38.