An impressive victory for Titans
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado – Coal Ridge boys basketball coach Paul Harvey constantly reminds his team that the full-court press has its merits.
On Friday, the Titans’ press produced a 60-57 victory at Rifle.
Darik Brown picked off a pass in the backcourt and stormed in for an easy layup to tie it at 57 with 15 seconds remaining and then Cody Walls jumped the ensuing inbound pass and hit a clutch free throw with 12.7 seconds left to nudge Coal Ridge past its fellow Garfield Re-2 School District school.
“We tell our team that, if we keep pressing, we’ll eventually get turnovers and we’ll get steals,” Harvey, a 1996 Rifle graduate, said. “It might not bring immediate satisfaction, but we came up big at the end.”
Nathan Terrin chipped in a pair from the foul line with 3.8 seconds remaining to ice the 3A Western Slope League win for the Titans.
“I think our steals did most of it,” said Brown, a junior who attended Rifle his freshman year. “We stuck together the whole time and hit our free throws.”
After a night of trading baskets in front of an electric, standing room-only crowd at Rifle, the host Bears took a 52-47 lead on a Von Church layup with 4:06 remaining.
From there, the Titans scrapped back to tie – first at 52 and then at 55.
A pair of free throws by Rian Creech with 32.5 seconds left gave Rifle a 57-55 lead, an advantage Brown and the Titans erased with some late full-court pressure.
“We expected them to foul earlier than they did and then we didn’t use a timeout that we had,” Bears coach Chris Lowther said. “We threw the pass and those kinds of things happen. Darik made a nice play to steal it and tie it up. Then they did a good job and made another steal.
“It’s frustrating it came down to that, but that’s basketball.”
Brown made a living attacking the basket, regularly slashing through the lane for layups to finish with a game-high 24 points. Terrin chipped in nine and Tyler Guettler and Brandon Bates scored eight points apiece for the Titans, who overcome a 16-for-35 performance at the foul line to improve to 6-3 overall and to 3-0 in the 3A WSL.
Rian Creech, who battled foul trouble and had to sit long stretches, led the Bears (3-5 overall, 2-1 in the 3A WSL) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Church scored 12 and Taylor Webb finished with eight points.
Rifle played Friday’s contest without junior Austin Booth, who Lowther said is hospitalized with pneumonia.
“I don’t know too much about it,” the coach said. “We’re definitely thinking about him, praying for him, playing for him.”
Pouncing early, Rifle’s girls scored 12 of the night’s first 13 points and kept the pressure on in a 54-34 win over Coal Ridge on Friday.
Cortney Cordova finished with 17 points, six rebounds and five steals as the Bears improved to 8-0 overall and to 3-0 in the 3A WSL. Tresa Berner chipped in with eight points and Jasmine Figueira and Racheal Keithley scored seven apiece. Keithley and Figueira each grabbed eight rebounds.
“I really thought we had good intensity tonight,” Rifle coach Stephanie Heald said. “It was much better than the other night [against Glenwood]. The other night, we had too many jitters and didn’t get out to the pace of game I wanted. Tonight, we had lots of energy.”
Paige Ryan led the Titans (6-3 overall, 2-1 in the 3A WSL) with nine points. Carly Cloninger scored seven and Chasity Gonzales had six.
“We weren’t very patient,” said Coal Ridge assistant coach Damon Martinez, who was filling in for head coach Rick Schmitz. The latter was busy celebrating his wife’s 50th birthday. “Rifle’s a fast team. They’ve got a lot of gunners. If you play at their speed, they’re going to beat you.”
Next up for Coal Ridge’s teams is a trip to Roaring Fork for games at 2:30 (girls) and 4 p.m. (boys) today. Rifle is playing host to Aspen at 4 and 5:30 p.m.
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