Rifle Bears beat Fruita Monument

Joelle Milholm Post Independent Staff
Kelley Cox Post Independent

RIFLE – With a 5-foot-7 post, the Rifle girls basketball team is outsized most of the time.The Bears weren’t on Tuesday night in a non-league game against Fruita Monument and they took advantage of it.Megan McWilliams, the 5-7 center, recorded a double double, grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring 12 points as Rifle got its first win of the season with a 55-49 victory over the Wildcats.”It is very nice,” McWilliams said of playing teams equal in height. “When we have tall people, I have to guard them so it is still nice to guard shorter people.”After falling in a close game to a tough 3A opponent in Basalt last week and losing to Class 5A Grand Junction Central over the weekend, the Bears were excited to finally get a tally in the win column.”We are getting into our groove, it’s taken a while, but we are getting there,” McWilliams said. “I think we are getting more together as a team.” The Bears teamwork was evident, as they used quick passes to get past the Fruita defense. Remarkable free throw shooting also helped, with the Bears sinking 11 of 12 in the final three minutes.After Rifle lead for the majority of the first half, Fruita came out firing in the third and took a 27-26 lead on back-to-back 3-pointers by Cami O’Brien. The Wildcats’ advantage was short lived as the Bears bounced back, with the help of an Alissa Skinner 3 and a pair of buckets from Quincey Snyder go ahead 41-34 at the end of three quarters.Fruita (0-2) mounted another comeback attempt in the fourth quarter as Whitney King hit a 3-pointer with five minutes remaining to trim Rifle’s lead to 42-39.Sandy Samson stole the ball and went the length of the court to score a layup to put Rifle up 44-39 with four minutes left. Fruita then began to foul the Bears, making them beat the Wildcats from the line. And Rifle did. McWilliams hit a pair, then Sandy Samson hit a pair and Chelsea Webb did the same to go up 50-42 with 45 seconds left. Despite a few more baskets from Fruita, Rifle remained strong at the line at Samson hit one more, Webb sank two more and Samson drained a pair for Rifle’s final points. “It was close,” said Fruita head coach Dan Schmalz of the Wildcats’ attempted comeback. “We just needed a little bit more time.”Snyder totaled 13 points and four rebounds for Rifle, Webb added 12 points, along with three steals, and Samson chipped in 10 points, along with six rebounds.Rifle (1-2) will be back in action on Tuesday when they host another 5A squad from the west – Grand Junction. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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