Rifle boys beat Huskies, take over first place
The Bears braced for the comeback and then turned it back.
The Rifle boys, after bolting to a stunning 14-0 lead over visiting Battle Mountain Friday night, held off a frantic charge in the second half en route to a crucial 62-48 win.
The victory, combined with Steamboat’s 51-46 double-overtime victory over Delta, put the Bears in first place in the boys 4A Western Slope League.
Rifle improved to 8-2 in league play while handing the Huskies their third league loss. Delta also suffered its first league loss at Steamboat. And Delta lost again Saturday against Moffat County.
The Bears, with Andy Gardineer dishing out assists, blasted to the 14-0 advantage in the first two and a half minutes of the game.
By halftime, the Bears still led 33-20.
“We knew they were going to make a run,” Rifle coach Roger Walters said of the Huskies.
“They’re as good as any team in our league and we knew they’d come back.”
But he said the Bears pulled together and extended their defense in the fourth quarter after Battle Mountain’s big third-quarter comeback.
“It was a total team effort,” added senior Brackett Pollard, who had two key baseline drives for layups during the critical minutes of the fourth quarter.
“Brackett was a monster out there for us,” Walters said of his fourth-quarter heroics.
He also commended the strong defense of Steve Winschell and company against all-stater Josh Henry of Battle Mountain, who scored just 13 points before fouling out.
“For two years, Steven has done a really nice job (defending) on Josh,” Walters added.
Four Bears finished in double figures, led by Carl Day with 12 points.
Pollard, Winschell and Ryan Shideler added 11 each.
Gardineer scored nine and logged 11 assists for Rifle.
Isaac Martinez led Battle Mountain with 18 points, coming on six 3-pointers.
The Rifle girls bounced back from an upset loss to Glenwood Springs with a big 57-26 win at Battle Mountain on Friday night.
The Rifle girls are 7-3 in the 4A Western Slope League. They play at Palisade this Friday and host Delta on Saturday.
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The Coal Ridge High School volleyball team closed out the 3A Western Slope League season at home Thursday night with a three-game win over Aspen (25-20, 25-11, 25-14).