Rifle frosh Guettler makes most of shots in OT victory
Post Independent Staff
RIFLE ” From a basketball standpoint, Kristin Guettler is a freshman in name only.
With Friday’s Western Slope League girls game against Steamboat Springs on the line, Guettler had the ball in her hands and the opportunity to make something happen. And, she didn’t let her teammates down.
Guettler’s 5-foot roller with 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter slithered through the cords for a 46-all tie. It was the reprieve Rifle had been looking for all night.
Given new life on Guettler’s field goal, the Bears outscored the upset-minded Sailors, 9-2, in overtime to post a 55-48 win to raise Rifle’s (9-0 WSL, 14-3 overall) unbeaten streak to 11 straight games.
“(Guettler) played terrific in the overtime and in the fourth quarter,” said Bear coach Rick Schmitz. “I don’t look at her as a freshman any more.”
“The momentum changed in the fourth quarter and we started playing really well,” Guettler said. “Our shots started falling. My basket just happened to be the last one made. It was awesome.”
Down 38-29 at the start of the period, the Bears scored five straight points to pull within four of Steamboat’s lead, then used a 6-2 run, sparked by a Guettler basket, with 1:56 left to set-up the equalizer.
“We had to create a fast-paced game,” Schmitz said. “That was the only chance we had in the fourth quarter. We had to do anything we could to change the momentum of the game, because it was all Steamboat up to that point.”
In the fourth quarter, the Sailors (6-4, 11-6) were limited to eight points and failed to score in the last 2:26 of regulation.
Rifle guard Kristin Neffendorf got the Bears off to a good start in the fourth.
Two steals created all five points in Rifle’s opening run. Her field goal with 2:48 left started the 6-2 scoring burst.
After the Bears extended the game to overtime Guettler felt Rifle had gained control.
“We felt really different,” she said, “because we were behind and we came back.”
Neffendorf, who tied for high-point honors with Steamboat’s Kayla Kostur with 15, broke the tie on an offensive putback 19 seconds into overtime. Junior Renee Laudick added the last of her 14 points on the next possession.
A field goal by Krista Wagstrom augmented with three Laudick free throws boosted Rifle to a 55-46 lead.
On Saturday, the Bears clinched the 4A WSL girls title and the No. 1 seed at next week’s district tournament in Grand Junction with a 52-33 win at Moffat County.
Wagstrom, Neffendorf and Laudick led a balanced scoring attack with 11 points each. Moffat County’s Brandie Telfer finished with a game-high 18 points.
The Bears wrap up the regular season with back-to-back home games with Palisade and Delta Friday and Saturday.
RIFLE ” In crunch time, Troy Weiss was nice.
Down by three in the waning seconds of Friday’s boys basketball game against Steamboat Springs, the Rifle High School senior forced overtime on a three-pointer at the buzzer.
In the extra period Weiss took control. He created or scored six of Rifle’s nine overtime points in a 55-48 win to put the Bears at 6-3 Western Slope League and 8-8 overall.
It was the Bears’ third league win in a row.
Rifle coach Chris Lowther put Weiss ” who had seen limited action due to a sore ankle ” in the game for his experience in clutch situations.
“I know in a reasonably close game to have your seniors on the floor is a good idea, because they have seen a lot of situations over the past two or three years,” Lowther said. “When you put Troy in you know that he’s going to play all out. And he hit one of the biggest shots that I’ve seen in a long time.”
Weiss said his game-tying shot came off a broken play.
“It was kind of lucky the ball got to me, then I was fortunate enough to knock it down,” he said.
And luck played a role in getting Rifle in a position to win Friday’s game.
After Rifle pulled within one of Steamboat to start the fourth quarter, the Sailors (8-2, 13-4) zoomed to a 42-32 lead on a 9-0 scoring run.
Steamboat’s Patrick Ayers connected on his fifth three-pointer of the night to spark the run.
Rifle cut the margin down to three when center Aaron Jewell scored five of his game-high 18 points in 44 seconds.
The Sailors hit two free throws, bracketing a Jewell field goal, to take a 44-41 lead with 7.9 seconds remaining before Weiss hit his game-tying shot.
In overtime, Weiss said it came down to playing good defense.
“We just D-ed up. And once we got up, this was our house and we weren’t going to lose it.”
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.