DELTA (1/25/13) — Like a crew-cut maestro, Rifle coach Roger Walters conducted a second-half, spread-the-court symphony, that orchestrated a 42-41 win at Delta, ending a six-game losing slide for the Bears and knocking the Panthers out of a first-place tie in the Western Slope League.
Rifle, in winning just its second league game, hit 7 of their first 10 shots to take a 16-12 first-quarter lead and never trailed the rest of the way. But after giving back four of its five-point halftime lead, Walters called a time out 25 seconds into the third quarter.
From that moment to their last possession of the ballgame, the Bears spread the floor, running a very deliberate offense featuring perimeter passing, penetrating and kicking the ball back out, using as much clock as possible each time. Rifle took just seven shots in the quarter, making three, a steal and layup by Tanner Rust and put-backs by Zach Walters and Adam Rice.
Delta managed to tie the score twice and trimmed the lead to one poiint a couple of times, but could never get the lead. The Bears missed all four of their free throws, but still led 34-32 going into the final frame.
Trent Brown and Delta’s Keaton Reier exchanged three pointers to open the fourth, then Rust found Tanner Quick inside to open a four-point lead, 39-35. But Reier sank another trey to slice the margin to one with 6:45 to play. The 6-5 Quick, whose 11 rebounds helped Rifle to a 29-19 margin beneath the boards for the game despite a Panther front line that included 6-6 Eian Baier and 6-4 Douglas Hawkins, scored off his own miss with what would be the Bears’ last basket of the game for a 41-38 lead with 4:30 remaining.
Delta again cut the lead to one with its final basket ten seconds later, but Wyatt Robinson made Rifle’s only free throw in 11 attempts for a 42-40 edge. The two coaches then alternated four time outs in the next three minutes as Rifle turned the ball over four times without getting a shot and Chris Black and Ryan Whiteside missed jumpers for Delta. Finally, with 44 seconds left, Black mugged Brown in an obvious attempt to foul him, but was rewarded with no call and a steal that led to a pair of free throws.
The Panther senior floor leader, who averages a team-high 11.2 points a game, but had been held to just two, missed the first and made the second to again cut the Bears’ lead to one point. A triple-team forced Brown into a travel, but Black missed another jumper and Baier missed the follow attempt at point-blank range. a pile-up for the loose ball resulted in Rifle’s possession with 17 seconds remaining. Jake Statler was fouled but missed the front of a one-and-one, giving Delta a final possession. As it had all game long, the Rifle defense prevailed, forcing a desperate three-point attempt by Hawkins that wasn’t close and Rust grabbed the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
Quick led all scorers with 14 points, Brown adding nine and Rust seven for the Bears (4-8, 2-6 WSL). Reier’s 12 points on 4-of-6 three-pointers led the Panthers (7-5, 5-2) with Hawkins tallying ten.
DELTA 49, RIFLE LADY BEARS 44
Skylan Webb, who had just two points after a 7-7 first quarter, finished with 27 for the game, including a sizzling 13 in the final quarter as Delta remained undefeated in league play with a 49-44 comeback win.
The Bears hit 6 of 7 second-quarter shots, with Chante Church scoring 10 points in taking a 23-22 halftime lead. The teams were tied five times and exchanged the lead another four in the first two quarters. But 6-0 Callie Gafford, who had been held to just 3 first-half points, scored on the Panthers’ opening third-period possession, and a Rifle turnover resulted in Webb following her own missed drive for a 3-point lead. The Bears would never get any closer the rest of the way.
Church, who was limited to a single free throw in the third as the Bears (7-5, 5-3) were outscored 10-5, poured in 11 points in the final quarter to keep the Panthers from pulling away and wound up with 25 for the game. Joey Kuheim scored 11 before fouling out, and Jasmine Figuera added six. Gafford finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds for the Panthers (9-3, 7-0).