Mortensen shoots down Rifle |

Mortensen shoots down Rifle

RIFLE – On the basketball court, Laurel Mortensen is a magician.

On Friday, the Moffat County point guard cast a spell on a Rifle defense which was intent on shutting down the talented senior, but unable to execute the plan.

In three quarters of play, Mortensen scored 20 points, wove her way past the Bear defense, and created a horde of easy baskets for her Bulldog teammates. In the process, she made Rifle’s share of first place in the Class 4A Western Slope League vanish in a puff of smoke.

The Bears never threatened in the 56-39 loss. The seeds of defeat were planted early as Moffat County opened a 10-point lead in the opening three minutes of the contest.

With a big lead in hand, Mortensen then proceeded to shred Rifle to its defensive core.

Mortensen drained the first of her five treys at the 3-minute, 52-second mark of the first quarter, then pumped in another a possession later.

Then, to stick the needle in a little further, Mortensen pushed home her third 3-pointer to start the second period.

The field goal gave Moffat County a 19-7 lead and the Bears, whose meticulous offense is not designed for big margin comebacks, meant the game was finished.

Rifle’s Krista Wagstrom responded with a field goal after Mortensen’s bomb, but the Bears never got within 10 points of Moffat’s lead again.

Meanwhile, for the rest of the first half, Mortensen continued to wave her magic wand.

She added two more 3-pointers, had three assists, and pulled down three rebounds by intermission.

Fittingly, Mortensen had a hand in Moffat’s last basket of the half, her kick back pass to teammate Kate Schafer behind the arc, gave the Bulldogs a 16-point lead.

Rifle pulled the margin back to 29-16 by intermission on Haley Hubble’s basket and a free throw from Renee Laudick.

The Bears didn’t find their offense until the fourth period. By then, the game was all but over.

Rifle produced 16 points in the final eight minutes of play, but prior to that spurt, the Bears shot a paltry 24 percent (9-of-36) from the floor and scored just 23 points.

Ashley Gavito scored 14 for Rifle before fouling out with 6 minutes left. Julie McWilliams had nine.

Wagstrom, who had her problems offensively and defensively with opposing post Brandie Tefer, scored a season-low six points.

Moffat County 56, Rifle 39

Moffat County 16 13 17 10-56

Rifle 7 9 7 16-39

Moffat County – Ashley Bishop 0 0-0 0, Laurel Mortensen 6 3-4 20, Ashlee Hafey 1 0-0 3, Kate Schafer 2 0-0 5, Amanda Tomlinson 1 2-2 4, April Sanchez 0 1-2 1, Jeni Jones 3 2-2 8, Brandie Tefer 7 0-1 14. Totals – 20 8-11 56.

Rifle – Kristen Neffendorf 0 0-0 0, Haley Hubbell 1 2-2 4, Nicole Erpestad 1 0-0 2, Julie McWilliams 4 0-0 9, Jessica Stilson 0 0-0 0, Montanah Matthies 0 0-0 0, Renee Laudick 1 3-4 5, Ashley Gavito 5 3-4 13, Krista Wagstrom 3 0-0 6. Totals – 15 8-10 39.

3-Pointers – Mortensen 5, McWilliams. Fouled Out – Gavito. Total Fouls – MC – 9, Rifle – 14. Technicals – None.

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