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Rifle girls edge Olathe in clash of 3A WSL elites

In a much-hyped matchup that lived up to its billing, Rifle held on for a 44-43 girls basketball win at Olathe on Saturday.

Cortney Cordova came up with a key steal late to help run out the clock on a down-to-the-wire victory that gave the Bears the upper hand in the 3A Western Slope League title race.

“It was definitely a game we wanted,” said Rifle coach Stephanie Heald, whose team improved to 11-0 overall and to 6-0 in the 3A WSL. “We knew it’d be great competition. There were a lot of people telling us they can’t wait to see how Rifle and Olathe would do, so I was looking forward to it just because of what all the other coaches were saying.”



Cordova’s 17 points led the Bears. She scored 12 of those in the second half.

In the first half, Makayla Wilkins stole the show, hitting buzzer-beating 3-pointers to end the first and second quarters. She finished with 11 points.



Rifle held a 13-12 lead after one quarter, a 25-24 lead at halftime and then fell behind 35-34 after three in a back-and-forth affair.

“We were up by four and then they came back within three and had a chance to score with 10 seconds,” Heald said. “We played really good defense and were able to stop them.”

Paced by Cordova’s 24 points and Ashley Rickstrew’s 19, Rifle scored a 71-35 win over Roaring Fork on Friday.

Megan Gianinetti led Roaring Fork with seven points. Sharlene Salinas and Hattie Gianinetti scored six apiece.

For the second straight night, Rifle’s boys basketball team eked out a one-point win.

Behind a pair of Fernando Carreon free throws with roughly 11 seconds remaining, the Bears hung on for a 57-56 win at Olathe on Saturday.

Only a night earlier, the Bears scored an emotional 67-66 win over Roaring Fork in Rifle’s first game since team member Austin Booth’s Jan. 17 death after a battle with the flu.

Big men Taylor Boone and Rian Creech scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, to lead the Bears past the Pirates. Carreon finished with 10 points and Von Church scored eight.

“We did a good job inside,” Rifle coach Chris Lowther said. “We got it inside on offense and, for the most part, were pretty good inside defensively.”

The Bears pushed their record to 6-5 overall and to 5-1 in the 3A Western Slope League.

Coal Ridge’s girls kept pace in the 3A WSL race with weekend wins over Hotchkiss and Gunnison. Both games were in Peach Valley.

The Titans topped Hotchkiss, 48-41, on Saturday behind 12 points from Carly Cloninger, nine from Paige Ryan, eight from Chasity Gonzales and seven from Ashlie Bowles.

On Friday, Coal Ridge scored a 47-43 win over Gunnison.

Ryan led the Titans with 12 points in that one. Cloninger finished with 10 points and Gonzales had eight.

The wins pushed Coal Ridge to 9-3 overall and to 5-1 in the 3A WSL.

Coal Ridge survived a pair of high-scoring, tightly contested weekend boys basketball games, topping Hotchkiss on Saturday (71-67) and beating Gunnison on Friday (67-61). Both games were at Coal Ridge.

The Titans, who improved to 8-4 overall and to 5-1 in the 3A WSL with the victories, opened up a 10-point lead in the first quarter of Saturday’s contest.

Nathan Terrin’s 28 points helped the Titans’ cause. Tyler Guettler contributed 14 points, McCade Cox 10 and Darik Brown nine.

On Friday, Coal Ridge dropped into a 39-17 hole in the second quarter and rallied to defeat Gunnison. The Titans closed to 12 by halftime and got to within one at the close of the third quarter.

Hitting at an 8-for-10 clip from the foul line in the fourth quarter, Coal Ridge managed to escape with a win.

Guettler led the Titans with 15 points, followed by Brown with 14, Terrin and Brandon Bates with 11.

The Basalt girls basketball team was riding high after a dominating effort against rival Aspen at home Friday night. The feeling did not last long.

The Longhorns trailed by just seven at halftime Saturday in Gunnison, but they unraveled down the stretch. Basalt scored just nine points in the final 16 minutes, was outscored, 15-3, in the fourth quarter and fell, 56-27.

The Longhorns now are 4-7 overall and 2-5 in 3A WSL play. They visit Hotchkiss at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Head coach Lauren Redfern did not return a call seeking comment.

Basalt’s search for a first league win continues.

The Longhorns squandered a chance to upset rival Aspen on Friday. Things did not improve Saturday in Gunnison, as Basalt fell, 61-38.

“They’re playing hard. There are just some breakdowns in execution that are killing us,” Longhorns head coach Jon Pettit said. “Gunnison shot the ball very well.”

Basalt led by two points after one quarter and trailed by just eight at the half, Pettit said. It trimmed a 14-point, third-quarter deficit to 10 early in the fourth.

Then, the game got away from them.

“We kind of pressed, and they got some pretty easy looks,” Pettit said. “We had some [defensive] breakdowns trying to make things happen.”

The loss – their sixth straight – dropped the Longhorns to 3-9 overall and 0-6 in Slope play. Things do not appear to get much easier from here, either; five of Basalt’s seven remaining opponents entered Saturday with an overall record at or above .500.

Basalt will look to turn things around at 7 p.m. Friday, when they visit Hotchkiss.

“We could use a win,” Pettit said. “I think there’s a sense of urgency, but I think there’s always a sense of urgency to win.”

Roaring Fork scored a 61-44 boys basketball win at Cedaredge on Saturday.

Trae Moxley led the Rams (8-4 overall, 5-1 in the 3A WSL) with 14 points. Clay Gross added 13 and Jake Strack-Loertscher had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Sam Carpenter chipped in with eight rebounds.

Taking a 16-4 lead after one quarter in Cedaredge, Roaring Fork’s girls basketball team appeared to be in good shape.

“After that, we couldn’t consistently score or play defense,” Rams coach Justin Perdue said.

The end result: a 59-43 loss for Perdue’s squad.

Megan Gianinetti’s 20 points led the Rams (0-12). Hattie Gianinetti scored 13.


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