Bears sneak by Bulldogs in thriller |

Bears sneak by Bulldogs in thriller

RIFLE – At the midway point of the Western Slope League season, Rifle’s boys basketball team leads the WSL in wins, team defense, and cardiac arrests.

For the second time in as many games, the 5-0 Bears had a heart-stopping, last-second, down-to-the-wire thriller of a battle.

Jason Enewold’s 12-footer broke a 46-all tie with 12.3 seconds left for a 48-46 victory and sole possession of first place in the WSL heading into Saturday’s game at Steamboat Springs.

Enewold’s tenacity, and the football team’s weight program as the Bears’ quarterback, receive joint credit for the win, according to coach Chris Lowther.

He mentioned both while explaining Enewold’s winning shot.

With time expiring Enewold worked himself free for a jumper that Bulldog guard Pablo Loya promptly rejected. Enewold, however, had the presence of mind to regained control of the loose ball, then squared up and fired in the game-winner before Loya could recover.

“He made a great play. Jason’s got great strength from lifting weights, and he fought to get the ball, then put in it,” said Lowther.

As dramatic as the win was, the Bears almost let the game get away.

Up by nine points with 5:38 remaining, Rifle squandered its entire lead.

Forward Brian Skowronski, who led the Bulldogs with 14 points, hit the last of three treys Moffat County had in the fourth period for the tie in the final minute.

The field goal was the Bulldogs’ last points of a 16-8 run, where Rifle never trailed, but saw its lead continue to shrink as the Bears went scoreless for 3 minutes.

Loya, normally the Bulldogs’ most reliable outside shooter, got hot in the fourth quarter after being cold in the first three stanzas.

The senior scored six of his 12 points in the period – all from behind the 3-point arc. His final bucket pulled the Bulldogs within one of Rifle before Jim Owens scored after two Bear misses on the next possession.

The wildness continued when Skowronski scored.

Enewold’s bucket almost lifted the roof off the Bear Lair, but Loya had enough time left to spoil the party.

“We had difficulty playing Loya defensively,” Lowther said. “He’s such a great shooter, he doesn’t need much room to get off a shot.”

The coach’s words came true in crunch time.

After a few passes, Loya worked his way free for a final 3-pointer. It hit the front of the rim. Ryan Shideler made sure the Bulldogs wouldn’t get another chance, by wrapping his arms around the ball as the buzzer sounded.

The final period summed up the entire game.

Rifle kept posting big leads, and Moffat kept coming back.

The Bears were up by eight at the start of the second quarter. The Bulldogs pulled to an 18-all before Shideler, who tossed in a game-high 18, and Owens scored prior to intermission for a 22-19 lead.

The same thing occurred in the third period.

Rifle led by eight. Moffat County took a short-lived lead at the 2:51 mark, before Zack Akin’s field goal regained the advantage.

The basket sparked a 11-2 run, during which the Bears scored six points in the period’s final minute to for a 38-30 lead.

Rifle 48, Moffat County 46

Moffat County 9 10 11 16-46

Rifle 13 9 16 10-48

Moffat County – Brian Skowronski 6 0-0 14, Cody Palmer 1 1-1 3, Joe Padon 2 2-3 6, Derek Duran 0 0-0 0, Pablo Loya 4 0-0 12, Kevin Loughran 2 0-0 4, Kevin Entel 0 0-0 0, Anthony Loughran 2 3-4 7. Totals – 17 6-8 46.

Rifle – Troy Weiss 2 2-3 6, Adam Krick 0 0-0 0, Jim Owens 5 0-1 11, Ryan Shideler 7 4-5 18, Chris Black 0 0-0 0, Jason Enewold 3 0-0 7, Aaron Jewell 0 0-1 0, Zack Akin 3 0-0 6, Jared Wooten 0 0-0 0. Totals – 22 6-10 48.

3-Pointers – Loya 4, Skowronski 2; Owens, Enewold. Fouled Out – None. Total Fouls – MC – 15, Rifle – 13. Technicals – None.

Contact Phil Sandoval

at 945-8515, Ext. 538

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