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Rifle stumbles against Bulldogs

RIFLE ” Lately, the Rifle High School boys basketball team has been successful at winning games with fourth-quarter comebacks.

Friday against Palisade, the effort came too late and was too short.

The Bears (6-5 Western Slope League, 8-10 overall) had their best offensive quarter of the night ” 17 points ” in the final eight minutes.



But, most of those points came after the game was decided in a 57-49 loss to the Bulldogs.

By then, the game was over and its key player ” Palisade guard Michael Embrey was sitting on the bench.



Embrey opened the fourth quarter by scoring all 10 of his team’s points in a 10-2 Bulldog run to ice the contest. Before taking a seat with a couple minutes left Embrey racked up 16 of his game-high 33 points in the period.

Palisade’s spurt widened a 39-32 lead to a 17-point gap with 3 minutes, 45 seconds left to play.

In a game that could have clinched third place in the league for the Bears, Rifle ” which looked sluggish, at times, on offense and out of control at others ” never found its groove.

“We definitely made our (share of) mistakes,” said Bear coach Chris Lowther. “We had way too many turnovers and we didn’t execute offensively. We threw too many balls away.”

The Bears held the lead twice. Both in the first half. Palisade (6-5 WSL, 9-8) erased both leads quickly.

Ryan Farlow’s three-point play on Aaron Jewell’s personal foul, gave the Bulldogs a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Rifle regained the lead on Jesse Harris’s field goal with 2:56 left in the half.

Embrey took care of that problem.

He created most of the Bulldogs’ 6-0 period-concluding run by creating two turnovers, then scoring breakaway layups on both. Rifle compounded its woes by allowing Farlow an offensive putback basket.

Up 26-21 at intermission, Palisade’s lead never got below four points in the second half.

Field goals by Adam Krick, Troy Weiss and Jewell kept Rifle within four in the third quarter before Embrey erupted again.

His three-pointer, after a sinking a deuce, raised Palisade’s lead to 37-30. In the fourth quarter, Embrey hit on 7-of-10 free throws and scored after his third steal to put the Bulldogs up by 15.

With 3:45 left after the field goal, Palisade, which won its third straight WSL game started to party.

Meanwhile, Rifle fans started leaving the gym in search of a party.

Jim Owens led the Bears with 14 points before fouling out and Jewell had 13. Farlow scored 11 for Palisade.


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