Rifle takes two from Battle Mountain hoops | VailDaily.com

Rifle takes two from Battle Mountain hoops

EDWARDS — Rifle girls basketball escaped with a 35-30 win over Battle Mountain on Thursday night in Edwards.

That is not written in jest or sarcastically.

The Huskies really gave the Bears, who are tied for first atop the 4A Slope, a game. Perhaps, Battle Mountain's win at Eagle Valley on Tuesday wasn't as much of a shocker as previously thought.

The Huskies (10-4, 3-3) led at halftime, 18-11, and, 24-19, after three periods. Karly Manupella hit a 3 with 6:10 left to give Rifle (11-3, 4-1) a 26-25 lead, but Battle Mountain didn't go quietly. Dylan Barker answered with two free throws.

The Huskies Claire Krueger had a bucket with 1:01 left to tie it at 29.

Rifle's Elly Walters sank two freebies with 29 seconds left to put the Bears ahead for good.

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"Kept it interesting, didn't we," Huskies coach Paul Stephens said. "It's very encouraging to be able to stick with them all the way down the stretch. We just need to finish (offensively). The defense looks good. Of course, we had a couple of breakdowns. We've got to score more. We're coming along. I'm proud of my girls. They're working hard and it shows."

Third quarter sinks Huskies

Without Devin Huffman (ankle), Battle Mountain boys basketball's offensive struggles continued on Thursday night with a 49-42 loss to Rifle.

Not only did the Huskies miss Huffman's presence in the paint defensively and on the glass, but Battle Mountain scored only two points in the third quarter, allowing the visiting Bears (8-9, 5-2) to overcome a 26-21 halftime deficit.

"We lose out on 18-20 points when he's not on the floor," Huskies coach Philip Tronsrue said. "(Rifle) went 6-(foot-)6, 6-4, 6-6. It's not just the defensive end, but the offensive end as well."

The Huskies (5-11, 2-4) built that lead behind strong shooting, something for which they've been looking to have balance when Huffman is in the lineup. Battle Mountain lit it up in the second quarter with 3s from Taylor Staughton, Ethan Tatreau, David Caballero and Baker Gentry, who ended up leading the Huskies with 14 points.

"If we can get a little more from our bigs, that's what we're shooting for from the outside," Tronsrue. "The killer was the third quarter."

Battle Mountain's teams are back in action tonight against Palisade at 5:30 and 7.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.