Rifle girls pull off last-minute win
RIFLE, Colo. – The score was tied at 44.There were 4.8 seconds left. It was the Bears’ ball on the opposite side of the court from where they needed to be, and overtime seemed certain.Then Kendall Babler dribbled the ball down the length of the court, racing past all five Montrose Indians on the floor on her way to an uncontested, left-handed, perfectly-crafted game-winning layup.Babler jumped up and pumped one fist in the air, celebrating Rifle’s 46-44 win over Montrose on Tuesday night.Babler’s winning drive was the same play Rifle used to beat Basalt in a 65-63 win on Nov. 30, and having seen it work the first time, Rifle head coach Brad Skinner called the same play again.”Coach said, ‘Here’s what we want to do and Kendall pull up and take a shot,’ but in my head I was thinking ‘I haven’t hit anything all night, Coach,'” Babler said of the play. “So I had it set in my mind that to pull up and take a shot was the last thing I wanted to do. I just hesitated and she bought it and I went by.”Kristin Guettler made a key defensive play that led to Rifle’s last possession, stuffing Britney Creamer, who led the Indians with 21 points, on her own attempt to sink a game-winner. The win was the first time Guettler, who is a senior, had ever beaten Montrose in her career with the Bears.”I was thinking about that (having never beaten Montrose) before the game. They are a good team and it’s always been close, so I am really excited,” Guettler said. “I am really proud of my team.”Each quarter of the game had its own pace. Montrose came out fighting to take a 12-8 lead after the first frame. Then Rifle started hitting its shots in the second quarter, taking a 23-18 lead into halftime.The Indians drilled three 3-pointers in a 17-point third quarter, regaining the lead at 35-34. “We came back nice after jumping out and falling back at halftime. We came back at the half, then that last play we certainly didn’t plan for it to go that way,” said Montrose head coach John Mraule. “That’s the opposite of what we did do, we wanted to stop penetration past midcourt. But it was a close game and it could have gone either way.”Babler finished the game with 12 points, Guettler scored 13 and Megan McWilliams added another eight. With Coach Skinner having to shift the lineup due to Billie Blackwell being out with bronchitis and Alissa Skinner seeing limited playing time with a bad ankle, he was happy with how Chelsea Webb, Lindsay Bowen, Quincey Snyder and Sandy Samson filled in.”We are pretty good with the bench. We are pretty deep and some kids stepped up and did good,” Coach Skinner said. “I was happy with that.”Up next, the Bears will host Eagle Valley on Friday.
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Glenwood Springs High School’s girls basketball team needed one last win to defend its conference title Saturday afternoon on the road at Battle Mountain.