Girls upset league leader to share title

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The Bulldogs varsity girls basketball team did something Friday that no other Western Slope team had been able to do for seven games beat the league-leading Rifle Bears.

Two free throws from sophomore guard Amber Sanchez in the last five seconds of the game lifted the Bulldogs over the Bears, 49-47, in Rifle.

The win garnered a share of the league title.

"It was a close game throughout," said Bulldogs coach Craig Mortensen. "We were ahead by one after the first quarter and then they were up by four at halftime. We were then ahead by one after three quarters. It was back and fourth in the final quarter."

According to Mortensen, who will attend a meeting in Rifle today, the Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 7-1 league mark along with the Bears. The meeting will decide the top seeds in the district tournament slated for Friday and Saturday in Steamboat Springs.

"We won't know what seed we are for the district tournament until (this) afternoon," said Mortesen. "We know that we will be either No. 1 or No. 2, and that we shared the league championships."

Friday, the Bulldogs were looking to avenge their only league loss after the Bears slipped past them, 43-42, Feb. 5.

"It was nice to beat Rifle," said Mortensen. "They are a good team and it was a tough game.

After the first game, we knew that we could beat them and we did."

According to Mortensen, the Bulldogs stepped things up on defense and that was the difference in the game.

"This game we did a better job on the defensive side," said Mortensen. "We controlled the tempo of the game and we didn't give up any easy baskets."

Sanchez finished with game-high honors after posting 17 points and junior guard Emily Mortensen chipped in with 11 points.

"Rifle was keying on Emily and Amber stepped things up," said coach Mortensen. "She had a good game for us."

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