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Bears beat Battle Mountain

Phil Sandoval

RIFLE – The Bears got the message.After struggling with Battle Mountain in the first 10 minutes of Friday’s league game the Rifle girls returned to the method that produced an eight-game winning streak.After falling behind by two, the Bears pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds in the second quarter and forced the Huskies into missing their next 16 field goal attempts in the period.Rifle’s defensive effort, combined with a 7-0 period-opening scoring run, sparked the Bears to a 64-36 rout.”They were out-rebounding and outrunning us at that point,” Rifle coach Rick Schmitz said. “And if we don’t rebound and don’t play defense we’re not very good.”There was no doubt that the Bears (2-0 Western Slope League, 9-1 overall) weren’t very good in the beginning of the game.Offensively, the Bears were 4-of-19 from the field in the game’s first eight minutes of play. And worse, their normally stout defense was being cracked open.A 7-0 Battle Mountain run in the second quarter turned a five-point Bears lead into a 15-13 deficit. Then Rifle slowed down the pace, and got back to what works best.Starting with Megan McWilliams’ game-tying free throws, the Bears outscored Battle Mountain 9-2 in the final six minutes of the first half and never trailed again.Battle Mountain (1-2 WSL, 5-7 overall) hit 16 percent (5-of-31) from the floor in the first half and continued to be forced into poor shots by Rifle after intermission. The Bears boosted their 26-17 halftime lead to a 19-point margin at the end of the third quarter.Rifle freshman Kendall Babler, on the way to scoring a career-high 18 points, started the 19-9 onslaught when she drained a 3-pointer in the first minute of the third period, with backing from seniors Renee Laudick (16 points) and Kristin Neffendorf (12 points, seven assists).Lauren Prewitt paced Battle Mountain with 13 points. Alexis Guinn added nine points for the Huskies.BoysRifle routs Battle MountainEAGLE-VAIL – The Rifle boys basketball team had a relatively easy night Friday at Battle Mountain.The Bears never trailed in Friday’s 70-51 win over host Battle Mountain Huskies while raising their record to 2-0 in the Western Slope League.Brandon Leuallen paced three Rifle players in double figures with 18 points. Stuart Stapleton and Adam Krick finished with 16 and 13, respectively.Defense played a key role in the contest as Rifle forced the Huskies into 21 turnovers.


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