For three quarters, the Rifle girls basketball team gave Class 4A Western Slope League-leading Moffat County all it could handle Saturday night.
In the end, however, the visiting Bulldogs won, 60-45.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that featured several lead changes and solid all-around play on both sides.
Moffat County relied on the penetrating abilities of point guard Angela Charchalis, who time and again tossed 6-foot-5 post Cayla Maneotis lob passes for easy baskets.
The Bears' Kristin Guettler was not about to let Moffat run away, as she posted 10 first-half points, en route to a 28-28 deadlock at the intermission.
Something big was missing for Moffat County as second-half play opened -- namely post Maneotis. She didn't see the court in the second half.
There was no injury to the talented senior; rather, it was a change in strategy by Bulldog head coach Craig Mortenson.
"We substituted in more speed strictly for defensive purposes," said the 31-year sideline veteran. "Matching up with Rifle's perimeter players is something we needed to do."
The substitution paid off as junior post Desirae Pearcey provided a lift with her defense and rebounding. She also hit a key basket at the three-minute mark of the third quarter to give Moffat County a 39-32 lead.
A 3-pointer by Bulldog guard Jorgiea Raftopoulos -- one of her four treys on the night -- gave her team a 10-point lead going into the final quarter of play.
Leading 52-37 midway through the final period, Moffat County went with its spread offense. Rifle picked up its half-court pressure, but the Bears could not make a run at the Bulldogs and were forced to foul down the stretch.
Moffat converted 7 of 10 free throws inside of three minutes to post its second league victory of the young season.
The Bulldogs visit Steamboat Tuesday for a 6 p.m. contest.