Bear defense shuts down Demons |

Bear defense shuts down Demons

Phil Sandoval

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – For one night, turnovers were the shortest way to the basket.

Rifle forced Glenwood Springs into 36 turnovers, converted 15 of them into field goals and the Bears cruised to a 52-33 win in Class 4A Western Slope League girls’ basketball action.

The 19-point spread was the largest margin of victory by a Rifle team over the Demons in recent history.

Rifle forced Glenwood into its first turnover in the opening 10 seconds. It turned out to be an omen or, in the Demons case, a nightmare.

Nicole Erpestad scored the game’s first two baskets on, what else? Demon turnovers, and the Bears zoomed to a 8-1 lead in less than four minutes.

And after being held to three field goals and seven points in the first quarter, the Demons, down 16-7 at the end of the period, never got within shouting distance of the Bears.

Ashley Gavito, scored 10 of a game-high 19 points in the first half, including the final bucket before intermission, pulling Rifle to a 30-15 lead.

The Bears forced 19 turnovers, and cashed them in for 14 points.

That, according to Rifle coach Rick Schmitz was the difference in the game.

“We wanted to press the ball and break their press early,” he said. “That happened, and the shots fell early.”

“Tonight was just our night,” Schmitz added. “They are a well coached team. We could play Glenwood 10 times and go 5-5.”

And what a night it was for the Bear defense.

It kept the Demons in check all night. Especially in the first half when the defense held Glenwood to 7-for-30 from the floor.

The Bears put the game in the refrigerator midway in the third period when they opened a 21-point lead after converting three straight field goals, all created by turnovers.

Demon guard Megan McKinnie recovered from a off-shooting first half to notch 15 points. She was the only Demon to finish the night in double figures.

McKinnie’s Rifle counterpart, Julie McWilliams added 11, mostly on three treys. Krista Wagstrom and Erpestad had 10 points each.

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