Second-half run sparks Glenwood to win over Rifle | PostIndependent.com

Second-half run sparks Glenwood to win over Rifle

Rifle senior guard Elly Walters goes up for a shot in front of Glenwood Springs senior guard Maddie Bolitho during Tuesday's rivalry matchup inside Jack Smith Gymnasium at Rifle High School. (DARCY COPELAND / DC PHOTOS)
Darcy Copeland |

A 9-0 run to start the third quarter, following a foul-filled first half of basketball, allowed the visiting Glenwood Springs Demons’ boys basketball team to pull away for a 63-39 4A Western Slope League win over the host Rifle Bears inside Jack Smith Gymnasium in Rifle Thursday night.

Following a first half of basketball that saw six lead changes, six ties and more than 20 combined fouls called in 16 minutes, the Demons spent very little time in the locker room making halftime adjustments to handle the energy and rebounding of the young, scrappy Bears.

Whatever was said at the break worked quickly for Glenwood as the Demons came out red-hot to start the second half led by junior guard Angel Garcia, who poured in a 3-pointer and a foul-line jumper to spark Glenwood onto a 9-0 run in the first two minutes of the third quarter, allowing Glenwood to extend a 7-point lead at the half into a 16-point lead following a fast-paced third quarter.

“I kept it pretty simple at the half because we played terrible basketball in the first half. That wasn’t Glenwood basketball,” Glenwood Head Coach Cory Hitchcock said following the game. “It was probably the shortest halftime talk I’ve ever had in my time here as head coach. These boys know better. I thought we were very undisciplined in the first half and played poor defense. We reached a lot; our defense compared to Saturday’s performance at Palisade was a complete change. We just looked lethargic and not engaged in the first half. Credit to Rifle; they were able to take us out of our game tonight and hang around in the first half.”

Coming out of the locker room following the short halftime talk, Glenwood found its footing defensively and really started to take advantage of Rifle’s zone defense, moving off the ball and screening for shooters, creating great looks for a Demon offense that can be prolific at times.

Senior guard Aaron Smith started the scoring in the second half before Garcia came through with his 3-pointer and mid-range jumper. Smith then buried two free throw attempts to stretch Glenwood’s lead to 40-24 before Rifle righted itself offensively with a tough put-back shot from senior forward Evan Gray to close the gap to 14. Rifle junior Omar Chavez then hit a tough layup driving baseline against the Glenwood defense to pull Rifle to within 12 points at 40-28, but a steal and a layup by Glenwood senior guard AJ Crowley and a layup from junior guard Chano Gonzalez made it 44-28 Glenwood late in the third quarter.

Rifle tried to create some momentum heading into the fourth quarter as freshman Diego Fernandez came off the bench and hit a tough and-1 layup in the paint off of an offensive board, but the freshman missed the free throw, leading to a terrific pass from Crowley to fellow senior Gabe Suarez down low for an easy layup, sending the two teams into the fourth quarter with Glenwood holding a commanding 46-30 lead against the young Bears.

Glenwood started the fourth quarter much like they did in the third, embarking on a 7-0 run as Gonzalez hit a 3-pointer, while Smith hit a jumper and a layup in transition to give Glenwood a 53-30 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Rifle fought hard in the fourth quarter as junior Darien Church hit a tough layup through contact, while sophomore Carter Pressler hit two free throws and sophomore Tanner Cotner hit a layup, but Glenwood’s offense proved to be too much down the stretch as Smith hit a 3-pointer before while junior guard Wyatt Ewer capped off his career night with a 3-pointer to make it 61-35 Glenwood, allowing the Demons to put in some bench guys to close out the 63-39 win in league play.

Prior to his final points of the night, Ewer was a big key to Glenwood holding a halftime lead as the junior came off the bench and poured in 11 first-half points, including three 3 -pointers, fueling his energetic defensive effort at the other end.

“I was really happy with Wyatt’s performance,” Hitchcock said. “Wyatt’s a confidence guy; if he knocks down his first shot, he starts feeling confident, but if he misses his first shot his head tends to drop and we’ve talked about that with him constantly. Shooters shoot; you’re going to miss shots and you’re going to make shots. I was really pleased with Wyatt tonight because his offense fueled his defense. He was able to create some turnovers for us and allowed us to get out and run. I was really, really proud of him. We needed him to step up and he did in a big way.”

Ewer finished with a 16 points for Glenwood, while Smith added 17 points – including 11 in the second half.

For Rifle, Gray came off the bench and was hard to contain in the paint, finishing with 9 points, while junior Joel Lopez and Chavez added 6 and 4 points respectively.

With the win, Glenwood sits at 8-3 (2-0 4A WSL) on the season. Rifle falls to 1-9 (0-3 4A WSL) on the season with the loss.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

RIFLE 37, GLENWOOD 27

A late 3-point barrage from the Glenwood Springs Demons wasn’t enough to complete a comeback against the host Rifle Bears Tuesday night inside Jack Smith Gymnasium in a 4A Western Slope League showdown between two league powers and rivals.

Two late 3-pointers from Glenwood seniors Dani DeCrow and Ellie Moser pulled the Demons to within 7 points, but a slick 3-point play from Rifle senior Karly Manuppella allowed the Bears to close out a hard-fought win over the Demons, 37-27, to stay perfect in league play.

Early on the two teams traded baskets as Karly Manuppella opened the game with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc before Glenwood seniors Tatum Peterson and Saylor Warren hit two tough shots in traffic to give Glenwood a 4-3 lead midway through a first quarter that saw both teams miss a number of good shots.

Trailing by one at home in the first quarter, Rifle senior standout Elly Walters pulled up from way beyond the 3-point line to splash home a Steph Curry-range triple, giving Rifle a 6-4 lead.

Glenwood senior point guard Maddie Bolitho answered by splitting a pair of free throws to ignite a point guard dual, but Rifle junior Masi Smith sank two free throws before senior guard Katy Manuppella drilled a 3-pointer of her own, giving Rifle an 11-5 lead late in the quarter.

Bolitho closed the opening eight minutes strong with a tough runner down the middle, pulling Glenwood to within 11-7 after one quarter of play.

In the second, shots continued to hit iron more often than the net as the two teams scratched and clawed into the break with Rifle holding a 19-13 lead thanks to 11 first-half points from Walters including an outstanding reverse layup along the baseline through a crowd of Glenwood defenders, while Bolitho answered with 5 points of her own in the first half to keep pace for Glenwood.

Following a slow second quarter, the two rivals continued to struggled to hit shots in the third quarter, combining for just 13 points as Bolitho and Katy Manuppella traded 3-pointers, while Walters and Moser traded buckets to give Rifle a 26-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter of play.

“It’s tough; I’ve had to tell the girls that if they take a good look, that’s all I can ask for,” Glenwood Head Coach Rhonda Moser said. “When you shoot 22 percent [from the floor] it’s tough to win games. I couldn’t have asked for much more tonight. We came in and knew we had to be very disciplined to hang with Rifle.”

Early in the fourth, Peterson went down with an injury, needing to be helped off the court, leaving Glenwood without its best player while stretching the bench thinner as the Demons were missing two key rotational players in Quinn Massie and Ximena Gutierrez.

With no Peterson, Glenwood seemed to struggle with offensive balance, but Warren stepped up in a big way, asserting herself as an aggressive post player, finishing with 4 points and 5 rebounds. But with no Peterson, Rifle was able to key in on Bolitho, forcing other Glenwood players to have to step up. In the end, it wasn’t enough as Walters hit a layup and sank two free throws in between the triples from DeCrow and Moser before Karly Manuppella closed out the win.

Walters led the way for Rifle with 17 points, while Katy and Karly Manuppella added 8 and 6 points, respectively.

Bolitho led the way with 9 points for Glenwood, while Moser and Peterson added 5 and 4 points each.

Rifle improves to 8-1 (2-0 4A WSL) on the season. Glenwood falls to 5-6 (0-2 4A WSL) on the season.