Bears outlast Demons, win 78-74 |

Bears outlast Demons, win 78-74

Post Independent/Kelley Cox

It was an epic battle.

A suspense-filled, nail-biting, plot-twisting drama between Rifle and Glenwood’s girls basketball teams that just wouldn’t give up.

Finally, after 44 minutes and three overtime periods, Rifle came out on top 78-74.

But the road to the final score didn’t come easy.

Glenwood’s Sam Ciani and Rifle’s Alissa Skinner each missed free throws to send the game into overtime with the score 49 all.

Kendall Babler appeared to have locked in a Rifle victory by draining a 3-pointer with one minute left in the first OT, but Ciani threw up a layup that momentarily paused on the rim ” as the buzzer sounded ” and dropped through the net to tie the game at 54.

“They never quit,” said Glenwood head coach Bryan Derby of his team’s resilience. “They dig deep and they get after it.”

Ciani, who was 6-6 from the charity stripe before her last miss in regulation, missed another free throw and the game went to its second four-minute overtime period.

With Rifle up 64-61 with 25 seconds to go in double OT, Sharaya Selsor fired two 3-point attempts ” both of which missed. Avery Denney saved the ball from going out of bounds on the second miss, and Ciani dished the loose ball to Katrina Selsor, who then swished a 3-pointer to tie the game and send to the third overtime period.

“I kept thinking, ‘OK here we go,’ and then Glenwood made a play. Every time we had it, Glenwood came back,” said Rifle head coach Brad Skinner. “That’s the sign of a good team.”

The game continued to bounce back and forth in triple OT before Glenwood was whistled for a technical foul when Sandy Samson fell to the floor after being pushed on a rebound. The sophomore then drained both of her shots. Skinner hit one free throw on Rifle’s next possession and, after 44 minutes of playing, the Bears finally pulled away with a Class 4A Western Slope League victory.

“I was extremely nervous,” Samson said of her feelings while shooting her free throws. “There’s a lot of pressure, but it came down to free throws, and we made them.”

The Demons (1-2 WSL, 7-3 overall), who were 28 of 34 from the free-throw line, couldn’t make free throws when they had to. Rifle (2-1 WSL, 6-4 overall), on the other hand, missed most of its free throws until the final OT period when they made 8 of 16 to seal the win.

The first quarter was all Rifle. The Bears dissected Glenwood’s zone defense, using only a few passes to find open players under the basket.

When Guettler cashed in on an offensive rebound giving Rifle a 12-2 advantage, Derby was forced to call a time out.

The huddle fixed Glenwood’s defensive problems as the Bears didn’t score for the remainder of the quarter. But then again, neither did the Demons.

Natasha Derby got Glenwood back on track in the second quarter by busting back-to-back 3-pointers. Glenwood took advantage by hitting nine of 10 free throws in the second quarter, and despite three Babler treys, pulled back into the game.

Sharaya Selsor swished a 3 with 25 seconds to go in the half, giving Glenwood its first lead of the game and a 25-24 advantage at halftime.

There were nine lead changes in the third quarter before the free-throw-filled fourth quarter and overtime periods.

Ciani led the game with 32 points, while Sharaya Selsor added 27. Babler scored 17 for Rifle, including four 3-pointers. Lindsay Bowen and Kristin Guettler each scored 13 for the Bears, Billie Blackwell added 12 and Skinner chipped in nine.

“They are pretty happy in the locker room,” Coach Skinner said of his team. “They are fired up for each other. They are very happy with each other. They are very much a team right now.”

Glenwood will now travel to Battle Mountain for its next game at 6 p.m. Friday. Rifle will also be on the road on Friday, but are scheduled to face Eagle Valley at 6:30 p.m.

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