It didn't take long for the Moffat County High School girls basketball team to establish themselves at the top of the Western Slope League.
Runs of 7-2 at the beginning of the first and second quarters helped the Bulldogs to as big as a 14-point lead in the first half. The home team never trailed, and it held off a late surge from Rifle for a 66-58 win.
"Moffat County outplayed us," Rifle coach Rick Schmitz said. "They were better than us tonight."
Junior Mari Katherine Raftopoulos scored the Bulldogs' first seven points on the way to a season-high of 21 points. In what is becoming a positive trend for Moffat County, seven players scored in the first half.
"It's hard to stop us when everybody is scoring," said freshman Angie Charchalis, who added six points.
Bulldogs' coach Craig Mortensen likes to see dispersed scoring.
"We need to spread it around to be successful," Moffat County coach Craig Mortensen said. "Brandie (Telfer) can't be the only one to score."
Not to take away from Telfer's effort because she contributed her fair share. She played all 32 minutes and scored 15 points for the Bulldogs, who improved to 13-1 and 6-0 in WSL play.
Moffat's ability to spread the scoring around was the difference from Friday's win and the Bear's 61-51 victory in the teams' first meeting. The first time Telfer had 23 points, which was nearly half of the team's output. Friday senior Erin Robinson and junior Jessica Uecker finished with eight points apiece to add to Raftopoulos' and Charchalis' efforts. Telfer was less than a quarter of her team's scoring as a result.
The Bears had three players in double digits. Senior Renee Laudick led all scorers with 23 points, sophomore Kristin Guettler had 11, and senior Montanah Matthies had 10.
The Bears whittled the lead down to five points, 45-40, with 3 minutes, 53 seconds left in the third quarter but a layup by Charchalis and a three-point play by Raftopoulos put the Bulldogs back up by 10.
Moffat's offense stalled in the fourth quarter to give Rifle a chance, but the Bears couldn't convert, either. Rifle was 1-11 from the field and 2-6 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes of the game.
The two teams will match up again in a week, but they both have two games before that. Schmitz wouldn't look ahead to the rematch just yet.
"We'll start preparing again Wednesday," he said. "I don't know if I can consider us one of the top teams in the league until we face Steamboat tomorrow. From what I saw tonight Moffat is one of the best teams though."
The Bulldogs have the one-game lead on the Bears but they have to travel away from the friendly confines of home.
"We had a great crowd tonight," Mortensen said. "We played with a lot of energy. The crow was part of that."
The girls come right back today to face Glenwood Springs at 4 p.m. The boys will follow at 5:50.