Bears blow out Sailors in 27-point home win
RIFLE — In decisive fashion, the Rifle girls basketball team rebounded from a conference-opening loss at league favorite Palisade last weekend to run past visiting Steamboat Springs 47-20 on Friday night.
Fourth year head coach Kristy Wallner watched as her team began to run the floor early and often, putting the Sailors in position to play catch up the rest of the night.
“We actually started kind of slowly, but midway through that first quarter we ran the floor extremely hard and got our transition game going,” Wallner said. “I thought we played good defense. It keyed our running game.”
Make no mistake, the Bears were determined from the onset to make quick work of the Sailors, as the home team raced out to a lead that had swelled to 24-1 midway through the second quarter of play, as a passive Steamboat defense offered little resistance to the Rifle starting five.
With reserves off the bench, and already getting significant minutes, the Rifle lead had topped out at 28-5 as both teams headed for the locker rooms at intermission.
The Bears returned from the break acting a bit lethargic, and the Sailors took full advantage of Rifle’s short hibernation to score the first five points of the third quarter before sophomore guard Elly Walters scored on a driving layup from the left side to get her team back on track.
Wallner called a quick timeout to remind her team to refocus its efforts on the task at hand.
“Coach wanted us to start the second half hard and get some stops defensively,” said Walters, who led Rifle’s scoring on the night with 21 points. “We were a little frustrated, but we knew we couldn’t put our guard down.”
The Bears didn’t stay down long as sophomore Jessie Pressler hit a left handed layup and junior Kenia Chavez got a steal and a layup of her own as Rifle ended the third quarter with a commanding 40-13 advantage.
With another impressive outing in the books for the Bears, senior guard Tori Pressler likes where her team is at, and what the immediate future may hold.
“I’m very confident in this team and what we can accomplish this season. We have a chance to go far,” Pressler said.
Sam Hinkle chipped in five points to the Rifle effort. She was joined by Kenia Chavez, Jessie Pressler, and Katy Manuppella who all contributed four points in the scoring column.
The Rifle girls (4-1, 1-1 WSL) will be back on their home court this afternoon for a 2 p.m. matinee start against another Western Slope League foe, the Summit Tigers, as they will conclude their weekend home stand.
Boys: Rifle 48, Steamboat Springs 44:
Coach Roger Walter’s boys team, not to be outdone by the Lady Bears, sent the home faithful to the exits with a smile on their face, as they employed a stingy defensive effort, combined with the scoring of Jacob Boone, Eduardo Ruiz, and Luis Carreon to ease past Steamboat by a score of 48-44 to stay unbeaten in early season WSL play.
Boone opened up the scoring for Rifle with a basket underneath. He was followed by Morgan Robinson who hit a straight on 3-pointer after a nice assist from postman Max Doose. When Robinson tallied another basket in the paint to give the Bears a 7-0 margin, Sailor coach Mike VanDahl had seen enough and called timeout to try and settle his troops.
Steamboat guard Ethan Riniker hit a couple of free throws following the stoppage in play to get his team on the board, but Rifle continued to match every Steamboat score as the first half closed with the scoreboard reading 22-15 in Rifle’s favor.
The second half produced some anxious moments for the league-leading Bears, as Steamboat whittled away at the Rifle advantage. Senior guard Eduardo Ruiz gave Rifle a solid floor game out front, and when Ruiz found
Boone alone underneath the basket for a banker, Rifle’s lead was 30-22.
With the Sailors pulling to within 39-34 with just over four minutes left in the game, coach Walters called a timeout and had his team spread the floor a bit on the offensive end in hopes of an easy bucket. It was Carreon who delivered the goods for his coach on a hard drive down the lane for a score to give the Bears a 43-34 lead with 2:14 to play.
Steamboat came back to cut the margin to 44-42 on a 3-pointer by Riniker with 45 ticks left on the clock, but Rifle was able to hold on to the ball, and the narrow victory.
Boone topped the Bears in scoring with 15 counters. Ruiz added 11 points, and Carreon dropped in eight points.
The Bears (5-0, 2-0 WSL) will face Summit at 3:30 on Saturday afternoon before making the journey to Denver’s Pepsi Center next Tuesday afternoon to take on the rival Coal Ridge Titans in a non-league tilt.
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