Rifle boys pull out overtime hoops win against Moffat
RIFLE – When it got to crunch time, instead of yelling out instructions, Rifle boys basketball coach Chris Lowther let the players play.Brandon Leuallen rewarded the coach’s wisdom by firing in a jumper with eight seconds left in overtime for a 55-53 win over Moffat County Friday.”I got the ball and was looking for an option,” Leuallen said. “I had the (defender) one-on-one and if I got past him, I knew I had an open layup. (But) I took the shot and somehow it went in – I never had that kind of opportunity before.” Given the chance, the senior guard drilled it home.”At that time, players make plays,” Lowther said. “We were just trying to run nice motion; (Brandon) had a lane. He took it and finished – that’s what we wanted to do.”Leuallen’s moment in the sun would have never taken place, he said, if teammate Derek Roberts hadn’t come through with his own clutch effort in the fourth quarter.Down by two with four seconds left, Roberts hustled for a loose ball near midcourt and threw toward the basket. In haste, defender Anthony Loughran, fouled Roberts, who sank two of three awarded free throws, which created the tie.”It was just like, ‘Please, Derek,'” Leuallen recalled. “Then he got fouled. I don’t know how he shot the ball, he just grabbed the ball and shot it. It was pretty sweet.”Especially for a Bear team that struggled all night to find its offense. “I don’t think we were very fluid on offense for a lot of the first and second quarters,” Lowther said. “We just had to gut through it until we got more comfortable.”Which didn’t occur until the third period of regulation.The Bears took their first lead of the game when Bryan Cloninger tossed in a field goal and added a free throw after a Bulldog personal at the 6:08 mark.The lead swayed back and forth 11 times the rest of regulation, which set up the two Bear starters’ dramatics.Rifle’s Adam Krick led all scorers with 15 points. Leuallen finished with 13. Four Bulldogs scored in double figures.Bulldogs end girls streakAt Craig, the Bulldogs broke the Rifle girls 11-game win streak, dropping them to second place in the WSL by pinning a 66-58 loss on the Bears.Mari-Katherine Raftopoulos scored 21 points for Moffat County, which took over sole possession of first place with the victory. Renee Laudick led all scorers with 23 points. Kristin Guettler and Montanah Matthies added 11 and 10, respectively.
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