RIFLE (2/7/15) – A pair of 3-pointers by Rifle’s Elly Walters and Jessie Pressler had the Lady Bears poised to upset 7th-ranked Glenwood Springs, but the veteran Demons turned up the defensive pressure with an 11-0 finish to pull out a 46-42 victory in the Bears Den.
The Glenwood boys didn’t wait nearly as long, outscoring a cold-shooting Rifle team, 37-24 in the second half for a 63-44 win that kept the Demons a perfect 12-0 in Western Slope League play.
GLENWOOD GIRLS 46, RIFLE 42
Walters’ first 3-point attempt of the game in the first quarter seemed off target, but banked in, giving Rifle a 14-10 lead with 1:30 to go, but after two free throws from Makena Warren, Jordan DeCrow answered with a trey to give the Demons (15-3, 11-1) a 15-14 lead going into the second period.
Six points to start the quarter increased the Glenwood lead to seven, and it seemed the Demons (15-3, 11-1), who had handled Rifle 54-26 in the Pepsi Center before Christmas, were in control.
But the freshman Walters, daughter of Rifle boys coach Roger Walters, and her diminutive teammate Tori Pressler keyed an 8-0 run to wrest the lead back when the 5-2 Pressler snatched a steal, then followed her own shot attempt with a pair of free throws for a 22-21 advantage with 3:13 to go in the half.
Jaime Crowley’s free throws put Glenwood up by one, but Walters buried another 3-pointer, then hit two free throws just before halftime to put Rifle up 27-23.
After six first-half lead exchanges, both teams came out cold in the third, combining to miss 12 shots until Pressler again grabbed an offensive rebound, and fed Walters for another trey with 3:45 left in the quarter.
Madi Spence, struggling to find her shooting touch against Rifle’s 6-1 sophomore transfer Samantha Hinkle, made her only basket of the quarter on an inbounds pass from Jaime Crowley and DeCrow’s free throws drew Glenwood within one, 30-29.
However a driving basket by Walters and Pressler’s jumper in the key extended the Rifle lead to 34-29 by quarter’s end.
The Bears (11-7, 7-5) continued to pad their lead when Walters made it 5-of-6 three-pointers for the game with 6 minutes to go. Hailey Armstrong made two free throws and Spence turned an inbounds pass from Warren into a baseline jumper to trim the margin to 37-35 with 5:20 left.
But a 3-pointer by freshman Jessie Pressler seemed to finish the Demons, extending the lead to seven, 42-35 with 3:45 remaining. But the Bears would not score again, and having committed just ten turnovers for the game to that point, suddenly succumbed to the Demon defense with six turnovers and no shot attempts for the next three minutes.
The Demon comeback began with a steal by Spence who fed Warren for a layup, then following a steal by Warren and a timeout, DeCrow buried a three, cutting the lead to two with 2:30 to go.
A steal by Crowley led to Hailey Armstrong’s layup with 1:32 left, giving Glenwood its first lead since the second quarter. Another Crowley steal led to her making 1-of-2 at the line for a 45-42 lead with 38 seconds remaining.
With everyone expecting another Walters 3-point attempt for the tie, Rifle went inside to Hinkle, who missed the Bears’ only shot attempt since Pressler’s 3-pointer at the 3:45 mark. Armstrong got the rebound, was fouled and made one free throw to provide the final margin.
Armstrong led a balanced Demon attack with 12 points, six of those coming at the line; Spence and DeCrow each tallied 10, and Crowley added 7 points and 7 rebounds. Walters led all scorers with 21, Tori and Jessie Pressler each adding six.
Having avoided the upset, the Lady Demons now await first-place Palisade’s visit to Glenwood next Tuesday with a chance to avenge their only league loss and regain a share of first place.
GLENWOOD BOYS 63, RIFLE 44
The boys game wasn’t nearly so dramatic, but there were a few intriguing moments. One came early in the third quarter, with Glenwood (15-3, 12-0) up by eight when Zack Peterson missed an attempted dunk, when a wide-open layup would’ve given the Demons a double-digit lead. In frustration, the 6-6 senior then committed his third foul trying to get the ball back from Morgan Robinson.
“I thought coach would take me out,” Peterson admitted after the game, but Demon coach Cory Hitchcock said, “I always want him to dunk,” and left Peterson in, even after he picked up his fourth foul early in the final quarter. “I have confidence in him,” Hitchcock said, and Peterson rewarded it with 17 second-half points as the Demons extended their lead to 41-26 going into the fourth quarter, and piled up 22 more to hold off an early Rifle charge.
The Bears, with 6-6 Max Doose dropping in two 3-pointers and Luis Carreon snaking through the key for a driveway-style layup, cut Glenwood’s once commanding lead in half, and trailed 43-35 with six minutes to play in the contest.
Cam Horning, who for the second straight night encountered early foul trouble, turned distributer, driving and dishing three times to Peterson as the Demons ran off 11 straight points to rebuff the Bear comeback.
Peterson had 19 and Horning, who drained 4 straight free throws in that stretch, had 17. Avery Lujan’s 7 led the Bears, who made just 13-of-43 shots, but stayed in the game in the first half by sinking 14 of 18 free throws. However, Rifle was just 3-of-16 beyond the arc, and with Brian Burbidge and Will Gray each pulling down 8 rebounds, Glenwood won the battle of the boards, 35-26.
Next up, in the league season’s final week, the Demons host Palisade (7-10, 6-5) Tuesday, then a final showdown with second-place Steamboat Springs (13-4, 10-1) on Saturday. Glenwood handed the Sailors their only league loss, 45-38, in mid-January at Steamboat.