On Thursday night the fans who hung around for the ending of the boys’ basketball game against Summit County were treated to quite a finish.
Trailing most of the game and by as much as 12 points midway through the fourth quarter, the Bears mounted a steady comeback. When Rifle forced a turnover on a traveling violation with just 13 seconds to play, it set up some late heroics by senior Jacob Boone with the Bears down by 2.
Rifle worked the ball around trying to get an open look, but couldn’t find one, and when Boone received the ball on the left wing behind the three-point line, he had only a second left and no time to get set, so he quickly shot the ball toward the rim. The buzzer sounded with the ball in flight, and when the ball swished through the net a moment later, it set of a frenzy of excitement for players and fans at Jack Smith Gymnasium giving Rifle a one-point win. (See video here from the PostIndependent).
The win raised Rifle’s league record to 6-4, a half-game behind rival Glenwood Springs for the second place spot in the Western Slope League. It sets up Thursday’s rivalry game against the Demons as potentially an important one for determining not only second place in the league but for also solidifying a playoff spot for both the Bears and the Demons in the 48-team playoffs that will start Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the home of the higher seeds.
In the girls’ game earlier Thursday, Rifle continued its winning ways, dominating the Tigers defensively in a 42-17 win, the team’s 12th in a row. The Bears held the Tigers scoreless for the entire first period and most of the second period before Summit County finally scored with just a few minutes left in the half. The victory keeps the Bears in first place in the Western Slope League and on track to claim a league championship.
Both the boys and girls have two league games remaining at Steamboat on Tuesday and at home against Glenwood Springs on Thursday. Both teams will finish with a non-league game at Montrose on Saturday and then they will find out playoff seeding information on that Sunday to see where and when they will play next.
The rivalry games against Glenwood on Thursday will also be senior night for both the girls and boys teams. The game schedule will have boys junior varsity at 3 p.m., girls junior varsity at 4:30, girls varsity at 6, and boys varsity at 7:30 p.m.