Bulldogs outlast Bears
RIFLE – The two heavyweights of girls basketball in the 4A Western Slope League tangled in a battle for first place Friday night. Fittingly, the contest had the feel of a boxing match.Until the Bulldogs gained the upper hand in overtime to earn a hard-fought 65-58 win, both teams appeared to have delivered a knockout blow to their opponent, only to see the opponent rise off the canvas and come back with a flurry.”We talked about getting possessions,” Moffat County head coach Craig Mortensen said of his talk prior to overtime. “We wanted to get the first five possessions in each quarter, and this time it was the overtime. We did that and got the lead and it kind of swung our way.”
Brandie Telfer’s and Angie Charchalis’ back-to-back field goals in OT pushed Moffat County out to a 57-53 lead. In the fourth quarter Rifle fought back from a four-point deficit at the start of the period to a 53-53 tie when Montanah Matthies scored with 2.3 seconds left in regulation.Lead changes came fast and furious the entire night.The teams exchanged the lead seven times in the opening eight minutes, with Rifle holding a 19-17 edge at the first break. Then Moffat County took over, taking a six-point lead with 2 minutes, 36 seconds left in the first half on post Cayla Maneotis’ field goal, two free throws and a basket by Jessica Uecker.
Outscoring Rifle 15-9 in the quarter gave MCHS a four-point lead at intermission.Telfer was red-hot, hitting 6 of 7 field goals in the first half and scoring 14 of her game-high 26 points.But the Bears refused to hibernate after falling back 32-28.Rifle’s multifaceted offense rallied to a 45-41 advantage, its largest lead of the game, on a Megan McWilliams’ baseline jumper and a 3-pointer from Kendall Babler in the final 21 seconds of the third quarter.The 3-pointer by the Rifle guard unsettled MCHS, but a talk by Mortensen at the break calmed the team’s nerves.
“I told them, we’re fine. We just got to play our game,” Mortensen said.The Bulldogs took the coach’s words to heart and Mari-Katherine Raftopoulos gave the Bulldogs the lead back after draining a trey to cap a 7-0 Moffat run at the start the fourth period. Rifle’s defense stiffened afterward, and, still down by four with 2:37 to go, Rifle scored the last four points in regulation to extend the game into overtime.Telfer also pulled down seven rebounds, as did Raftopoulos, who scored 10. Kristin Neffendorf and Babler led Rifle with 14 points each. Forward Renee Laudick had 13 with 10 rebounds before fouling out in the overtime period.• A week after Rifle defeated Steamboat Springs by 18 points the Sailors answered with a 44-38 upset of the Bears Saturday night.Kayla Kostur scored a game-high 21 points. Kendall Babler scored 11 for Rifle, and Renee Laudick netted 10.Kayla Kostur scored a game-high 21 points. Kendall Babler scored 11 for Rifle, and Renee Laudick netted 10.
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