Rifle girls snare a tight victory
Post Independent Staff
RIFLE ” Once she got her hands on the ball, Kristin Guettler didn’t let go.
She was awarded a jump ball with 4.4 seconds left and as she held on to the ball, Rifle held on to a 49-46 win over Eagle Valley Friday night.
Rifle controlled most of the game, including a 20-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and a five-point advantage into the final frame. However, no matter what the Bears did, the Devils just wouldn’t go away. But for every come-back play Eagle Valley made, Rifle had an answer.
“They like challenges, but I don’t know if my heart can stand many more of them,” said Rifle head coach Jack Smith. “But they like to play up and down the court like that.”
Down by eight points with two minutes to go in the game, Eagle Valley started to come back again. Amanda Padilla hit a 3-pointer, which was followed by a layup from Sarah Reed to pull the Devils within three.
With 35 seconds left, Rifle had the ball and was trying to waste time. And they did, as the Devils let almost 20 seconds tick away before they fouled a Bear to stop the clock.
“In the huddle we called a foul and told them to foul, but things broke down and they didn’t do what we asked them,” said Devil head coach Jamie Mayne.
After in-bounding the ball, Rifle managed to evade fouls for another 11 seconds, before Kendall Babler was sent to the line with 5.8 seconds left. She missed her lone free throw, but Guettler grabbed onto the ball after the shot and held on for a jump ball. The possession arrow was in Rifle’s favor and after 4.4 more seconds, so was the game’s outcome.
Guettler finished the game with 18 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one block. Padilla lead Eagle Valley with 13 points, four rebounds and one assist.
The game was the first Western Slope League match-up for both squads.
“It’s always good to get the first one,” Smith said.
Rifle moves to 4-5 overall while Eagle Valley falls to 1-5 overall. The Bears will be back in action Saturday when they face Battle Mountain at 4 p.m.
The Rifle boys squad also came out of its first Western Slope League match-up victorious, beating Eagle Valley 54-43 Friday night.
“It was a pretty intense game,” said Rifle head coach Chris Lowther. “It was good to get a win because we had been struggling, but we executed on offense and played good defense.”
The momentum of the game followed a similar path to the girls game preceding it. Rifle took the lead and control of the game early, but couldn’t shake the devils. After coming out to a 20-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, Eagle Valley fought back, taking a 26-24 lead when Matt barker nailed a 3-pointer.
Rifle got the ball, was fouled an was awarded the ball out-of-bounds, under their own basket with 1.3 seconds left in the half. Stuart Stapleton threw the ball into the hands of Mitch Kosht, who quickly caught it and shot it, hitting a layup at the buzzer to tie the game going into the break.
Scoring continued to go back-and-forth throughout the third, but Rifle came out of it with a 10-point advantage. Eagle Valley never got any closer to the Bears for the remainder of the game.
“We were patient on offense,” Lowther said. “Sometimes we try to force it, but we slowed down and took good shots.”
Scott Rust led the Bears with 17 points, three rebounds and two assists while John Gabriel was the top Devil, scoring 14 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and one steal.
Rifle improves to 1-0 in the WSL and 1-6 overall, while Eagle Valley drops to 0-1 in league and 1-6 overall.
Rifle will travel to Battle Mountain Saturday for its next league contest.
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The regular season was a formality for the Coal Ridge Titans.