Bulldog hex gets best of Bears boys and girls hoops
PALISADE – When it comes to gyms, Palisade’s dog pound is a house of horrors for the Rifle High girls basketball team.How else can one understand how the Bears got taken into overtime, after leading to the midway point of the fourth quarter, then lost 70-63.Simple, the place is jinxed, so far as Rifle thinks.”This has been a tough building for us to play in,” said head coach Jack Smith. “It doesn’t make any difference when we come down here. We’ve always had a real go-round with Palisade here.”The rough spots appeared early, but, Rifle fought through them – initially. Chelsea Webb’s layup on a feed from Kendall Babler gave the Bears the lead at the first-quarter buzzer and they appeared to be in good shape.Webb’s 3-pointer after the break expanded Rifle’s lead to five points, and, with contributions from Megan McWilliams and Kristin Guettler, the Bears led by as many as nine in the second period and took a comfortable 35-27 into intermission.Then the jinx took over.Palisade outscored Rifle, 14-12 in the third period.Building up a nine-point cushion with 4 minutes, 29 seconds left gave the Bears false hope the hex of the Pound was over. Little did they know the spell was cast after Billie Blackwell nailed a field goal at that point.Palisade reeled off an 8-0 scoring run over the next two-and-half minutes that culminated with the Bulldogs taking a 54-53 lead on Katy Edminston’s offensively put-back basket off a teammate’s miss.Smith said the run set the tempo for the rest of the game.”I think it did. They took the lead and they got real enthusiastic about it. We had people in foul trouble, and that really hurt.”Guettler and Webb, the Bears two leading scorers with 16 and 11 points each, both fouled out.Rebounding was also a problem.”I didn’t think we blocked out very well in the fourth quarter and in the overtime period,” Smith said.Alissa Skinner caused the overtime when she intercepted an inbounds pass and scored off Rifle’s backcourt press with two seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 60-all.In overtime, the Bears’ offense went dormant again – scoring only three points – all on a Babler three-point play with 1:33 to go and Palisade holding a 66-60 lead.Offense goes cold for Rifle boysPALISADE – Some nights the shots just don’t drop.That was Rifle’s problem in Friday’s 58-46 loss to a vastly improved Palisade squad that went winless last year in the Western Slope League.Except for the fourth quarter, when the Bears (3-8 league, 4-15 overall) scored 20 points, the offense never got going.Scoring a meager 23 points in the first three periods put Rifle in hole they couldn’t dig out of. With Rifle down 22-17 at halftime, the Bulldogs cranked up the defensive pressure, outscoring the Bears 18-6 over the next eight minutes to seal the win.”Obviously we had a hard time scoring in the third quarter,” said coach Chris Lowther. “They did a good job defending us, but the effort (offensively) was there.”Still, the Bears hit only 2-of-9 field goal attempts in the period.Sophomore guard Scott Rust’s 3-pointer early in the quarter gave Rifle its only lead in the second half. Palisade distanced itself quickly by scoring six straight points, then added to its lead on two other 6-0 scoring bursts, while Rifle’s only points coming from a Mitch Kosht basket in between runs.Forward Shane Douglas was Palisade’s hot man of the quarter. He poured in nine of the Bulldogs 18 points in the period and led all scorers with 29 points.Rust finished with 15 for Rifle, all on 3-pointers. Stuart Stapleton added 13.The Bears conclude this weekend’s road trip this afternoon at Delta.
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As a new transplant to the area, each week I will feature a trail within the Garfield County limits. For this inaugural week, I’m highlighting Glenwood Springs’ own Atkinson Canal Trail.