RIFLE — Most of the one-and-done possessions the Eagle Valley High School boys basketball team had against the Rifle Bears didn’t have a positive result for the Devils on Tuesday. Most of Rifle’s one-and-done possessions helped them take a big lead and build on it.
Wyatt Robinson scored a game-high 15 points to go with a 13-point outing from Tanner Quick, and the Bears capitalized on the Eagle Valley turnovers they forced on their way to a 57-26 Class 4A Western Slope League victory at the Rifle High School gymnasium.
The victory helped the Bears (8-3 overall, 6-2 4A WSL) stay in the race for the league title. It also makes Thursday’s home game against the rival Glenwood Springs Demons (12-3, 7-2) that much more important.
“It’ll be a tough game,” Robinson said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Bears took advantage of their height advantage down low, with 6-foot-6 senior Quick drawing the attention of Eagle Valley’s zone defense. That opened up the inside-out game for the Bears, giving Robinson open looks from the perimeter and Trenton Brown (eight points) opportunities to drive the lane and score.
“Our guards moved the ball around really well so that our big man could score,” said Robinson, adding that his team wanted to dictate the tempo from the beginning. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t have to work as hard down the stretch. That way we could hold the ball if we wanted to.”
Slater Sabo scored eight points and Travis Edgar added seven to pace the Devils (4-10, 2-6 league), who weren’t able to rally after falling behind 12-4 after one quarter. Rifle, however, wasn’t able to take control until halfway through the second.
Eagle Valley only trailed 14-7 halfway through the second stanza. A layup from Quick with 3 minutes, 36 seconds remaining before halftime, quickly followed by a steal and layup from Brown, sparked a 10-2 run that gave the Bears a 24-9 lead with a little more than a minute remaining in the first half.
And the Bears kept building on the lead after halftime, as a 3-pointer from Tanner Rust, followed by layups from Clinton Farr and Luis Carreon, pushed Rifle’s lead to 46-21 at the end of the third quarter.
The Devils continue league play on Friday when they host Palisade.
Rifle 44, Eagle Valley 39
RIFLE — Chante Church scored 13 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter — going 10-for-12 from the foul line in the stanza — to lead the Bears (5-6 overall, 5-2 4A WSL) to their fifth victory in their past six games.
Rifle scored 16 fourth-quarter points — 13 coming from the free throw line — to help them rally from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter. Ashley Floyd scored eight points to pace the Devils (9-5, 5-3 league play), who went up 29-18 after a pair of foul shots from Lauren Thorpe with 6:13 remaining in the third quarter capped an 11-0 Eagle Valley run.
That’s when Rifle’s defense buckled down, shutting the Devils out for the next 8:05. The Bears’ offense took advantage, too, scoring 15 unanswered points to take a 32-29 lead on a pair of foul shots from Church with 6:35 remaining. Thorpe snapped the Devils’ scoring skid with a layup to pull Eagle Valley within a point, but Rifle reeled off nine of its final 12 points from the charity stripe to keep its distance.
“We knew that if we drove into the lane, they were going to foul us,” Church said. “They weren’t in good position for most of the night, and we knew we could knock down our free throws if we got them in foul trouble.”
Carsyn Copeland finished with four points and seven rebounds, Church added six boards and Emily Neuroth added five points and eight rebounds for the Bears. Eagle Valley got six points from Thorpe, Megan Asmussen and Kylie Martin, who all helped the Devils take a 24-18 halftime lead.