Bears post 12-0 league mark |

Bears post 12-0 league mark

Post Independent Photo/Kelley CoxRifle High School's Renee Laudick shoots the ball over an unidentified Delta defender as Delta's Shannon Doty looks on during the Class 4A Western Slope League game Saturday night at Rifle High School. Rifle won the game 53-25 to finish the Slope league slate in first place with a 12-0 mark.

RIFLE ” At first glance, Rifle’s 64-43 win over Palisade Friday seems to indicate the Bear girls had few problems handling the visiting Bulldogs.

Don’t believe it.

On the way to boosting their winning streak to 13 straight games, most of the Bears’ 21-point margin came late in the fourth quarter when both teams ‘ benches finished up.

Prior to Krista Wagstrom’s much-needed three-pointer deep in the third quarter, the game could have swung either way.

Rifle (11-0 Western Slope League, 15-3 overall) only trailed once ” briefly in the first quarter ” but, couldn’t distance themselves from the pesky Bulldogs (4-7, 5-13).

The Bears held a 15-point lead at one point in the second quarter. Palisade cut the margin to six by hitting four field goals in the last two minutes of the period.

Freshman Kristin Guettler pulled Rifle out of its funk by sinking a bucket at the buzzer for a 29-21 halftime lead.

Rifle’s lead never got below eight points, but they didn’t take control until Wagstrom’s basket with 3:27 left in the third quarter.

Calmed by the senior’s influence, the Bears scored eight of the quarter’s next 15 points. Guettler, who ended with 17 points, sparked the late run on a two-footer off a cross-lane pass from Savannah Beecraft.

Bear coach Rick Schmitz said the difference in the second half was better execution on offense.

“When we struggle to score, we’re too quick on offense,” he said. “Out of our defense, we play a frenzy pace, then when we go to offense we’ve got to be more controlled.”

After slowing down on the offensive end, Rifle boosted its 46-34 third-quarter lead to 20 points midway through the fourth period with a 10-4 scoring run.

Earlier, forward Renee Laudick had the hot-hand. The Rifle junior scored 10 of her game-high 18 points in the first half.

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