RIFLE (2/15/13) – The Walters’ household was transformed from the Heartbreak Hotel to Celebration City in a matter of seconds as Rifle’s Taylor Walters’ 3-point bank shot caromed off the backboard and through the net for a 46-44 Lady Bears’ win over Glenwood Springs.
On the Bears’ two previous possessions, trailing 44-43, Walters first dropped a pass for a turnover with 50 seconds to play, then traveled with 12 seconds to go. “It would have been pretty sad around our house,” Rifle boys coach and Taylor’s father, Roger Walters, said. It was the second dramatic, down-to-the-wire finish between the teams in the last two weeks, following the double-overtime win by the Bears in Glenwood, January 31.
That contest required a 22-11 fourth-quarter flurry by the Demons to send the game to OT, but this one was anyone’s game all the way as both teams led in every quarter, and there were six lead changes and three ties in the final frame.
Glenwood took its last lead on a pair of Kenzie Nelson-Buehler free throws with 1:47 remaining, then commmitted two turnovers paralleling Walters’ misfortunes. With nine seconds left, Delaney Gaddis, who missed four free throws in the two overtimes in Glenwood, failed to convert the front of a one-and-one and Rifle’s Kimmie Rausin securred the rebound.
Jasmine Figueira drove downcourt, was cut off at the top of the key and passed to Walters, outside the arc on the right side in front of the roaring Rifle student section. Walters, who had hit 3 of 4 treys in the overtime game, but was 0-for-4 on her long distance tries and scoreless to that point, let fly, and when the ball banked it just before the buzzer, the Bears’ Den errupted. Officials put two seconds back on the clock and Jordan DeCrow’s desperate heave from beyond half-court actually hit the backboard but didn’t really come close.
Chante Church provided early fireworks for the Bears, scoring 8 first-quarter points as Rifle led 10-9, but DeCrow and Madi Spence combined for 9 points in the second to help Glenwood to a 22-18 halftime lead.
The Demons’ biggest lead came on their first possession of the third quarter as Gaddis fed KNB for a six-point margin. Rifle’s Joey Kuheim, who didn’t start due to illness, was fouled and could barely reach the rim on two free throws, but a steal by Figueira led to a basket by Church, then the senior point guard found the gritty Kuheim inside to draw within two.
DeCrow sank a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 5, but Church answered, then moments later pulled down a rebound and blazed to the other end for a layup, tying the score at 27. Church hit another three to cap an 8-0 Bears’ run for a 30-27 lead at the 3-minute mark, but DeCrow matched it, for the fifth tie of the game.
Kuheim drew on reserve fortitude, having to play almost the entire second half after her teammate Carsyn Copeland went down with a knee injury, making two free throws for a 33-30 Rifle lead going into the last period.
Nelson-Buehler, one of only two Demon seniors, scored 8 of her 13 points in the fourth, and Spence sank a pair of free throws and converted an entry pass from DeCrow as the teams see-sawed through three ties from 5:45 to 3:33. Figueira and Church, who finished with 25 points, kept regaining a two-point lead for Rifle (12-6, 10-3 WSL) until DeCrow’s free throws put Glenwood (12-6, 8-6) ahead 42-40 with 2:57 to go, giving her 13 points for the game. Kuheim scored on a rebound a minute later, for a one-point Rifle lead, but missed the “and one” free throw,
KNB’s free throws then set the stage for the two teams’ four turnovers until Walters’ final shot fell through.
Before the game, the Western Slope Basketball Officals’ Association had given Walters its sportsmanship award, but the friendly bank off the glass provided redemption and a happy ending.
RIFLE BOYS 52, GLENWOOD 43
In the first game of the season, Glenwood’s Collin Porterfield scored a dozen points, dished five assists, and grabbed 15 rebounds. Then he suffered a season-ending injury in practice, and the Demons have been unable to fill the void left by his absence ever since. Things were no different in their 52-43 loss in Rifle Friday as Glenwood had no answer for Tanner Quick’s 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The Demons hung tough in the first half with Jared Gambrel and Chris Thomas combining for all ten of the team’s points in a first quarter where Quick tallied six and Trenton Brown five for a three-point Rifle lead.
Grant Fegan scored 5 and Gabe Yen had a lay-up at the beginning and end of the quarter as Glenwood trailed 25-23 at halftime, with Quick adding another 8 points.
Glenwood fell victim to Rifle’s solid third-quarter defense, making just 2-of-11 shots, including a 1-for-5 performance beyond the arc. Adam Rice and Quick scored four points apiece as the Bears’ 13-5 advantage opened their lead to 38-28 going into the last period.
The Bears’ extended their advantage to what seemed a comfortable 15-points on a basket by Quick with 5:17 to play. But a 7-0 run over the next three minutes got the Demons closer and a steal and layup by Thomas had Glenwood within six, 45-39 with 1:25 remaining.
Rifle (10-8, 7-6) missed a free throw, keeping the door open, but Fegan’s 3-pointer, giving him 8 points in the quarter, was the only one of four deep tries to drop for Glenwood (5-14, 4-10), while Jake Statler made three free throws and Brown, four, to clinch the Bears’ seventh straight victory.