Both Bears squads fall to Bulldogs |

Both Bears squads fall to Bulldogs

Rifle's Chris Kuester puts up a shot over a Steamboat Sailor on Saturday.

CRAIG ” If anyone who pays attention to Western Slope League girls basketball told you Moffat County would make only one basket from the floor in the fourth quarter Saturday and beat first-place Rifle, you’d think they were crazy.

Insanity aside, it happened.

The Bulldogs connected on 15 of 18 free throws in the game’s final eight minutes, pulling away for a 58-47 victory against the visiting Bears (10-4 overall, 5-1 in the 4A Western Slope League).

“What we are doing, is taking care of the basketball,” Moffat County coach Craig Mortensen said. “We made them play our game. Once we had the lead, they were forced to foul us.”

The win vaulted Moffat County (8-7, 5-1) into first place in league, and handed the Bears their first league loss of the 2008-09 season.

“We needed to shoot the ball better,” Rifle coach Stephanie Heald said. “The third and fourth quarter, they were coming out on us (defensively) and we couldn’t make a shot.”

Bulldogs senior Alicia Nelson led all scorers, finishing with 14 points, including a 6-for-8 performance from the line.

Courtney Edington connected from downtown three times on her way to tallying 13 points. Teammate Ariel Sanchez hit 8 of 10 free throws on her way to finishing with 10.

Rifle sophomore Ciara Euler led four Bears in double figures, tallying 12 points.

Cortney Cordova finished with 11; Makayla Wilkins and Sandy Samson pitched in with 10 apiece.

Bulldog boys win big

High School basketball may be a 32-minute game, but Moffat County needed just eight Saturday night.

The Bulldogs (9-6 overall, 5-1 in the 4A WSL) broke out to a 20-point lead midway through the first quarter against visiting Rifle (6-8, 3-3) and never looked back, winning 84-50.

“You definitely have to come out early, and we didn’t,” Rifle coach Chris Lowther said. “You have to give them credit, though. They just outplayed us.”

A 19-point lead at the end of the first turned in to a 35-point halftime lead, which turned in to a 39-point lead heading in to the fourth.

“We talked about execution,” Moffat County coach Steve Maneotis said. “I didn’t have to say a whole lot to keep them focused. I think the Glenwood loss (a 72-62 road loss on Friday to the Demons) did everything I needed to keep them focused.”

Rifle had problems with the Bulldogs’ full-court press from the game’s onset, evident by the troubles encountered by leading scorer Tyler Rust (20.1 points-per-game average entering the contest). The Bulldogs physical play frustrated Rust to the tune of four fouls ” including a technical ” in the game’s opening 11 minutes.

Rust finished with five points.

Post player Chayton Owens tallied a game-high 21 points, leading four Bulldogs in double figures.

Bulldog senior Collin Jackson finished with 15, senior Kelton Willbanks 13 and sophomore Dylon Camilletti 12.

Senior Eric Laudick and freshman Darik Brown scored nine points apiece to lead the Bears. Junior Chris Kuester pitched in with seven.

Moffat County led 23-3 early, until a 3-pointer by Rifle’s Dustin Ross cut the gap to 17.

It would be as close as the Bears would get.

A block and subsequent fast break layup by Owens restored the 20-point lead entering the second period.

Rifle opened the second frame with a barrage of shots from downtown trying to make up some ground.

But, an 0-5 spurt from beyond the arc in the period’s first two minutes resulted in 33-8 Moffat County lead. Back-to-back trifectas by Jackson and senior Thomas Noble extended the home team’s lead to 31 points, and by the time the halftime buzzer sounded, Rifle was down 35.

The Bears won the second half, 33-32, primarily against Moffat County’s reserves.

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