'We're in the driver's seat now'

Bulldogs take hold of first in Western Slope after 65-55 win against Rifle

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Paced by the play of Markie Workman and Angela Charchalis, the Moffat County High School girls basketball team was too much for the feisty Rifle Bears on Saturday night.

The two juniors combined to score 44 points en route to a 65-55 home victory.

Moffat County and Rifle headed into the game tied at 6-1 in league play. MCHS coach Craig Mortensen said the victory was important to his team's league standing.

"We're in the driver's seat now," he said. "We've just got to keep pressing the right pedals."

Workman led the team's scoring attack with 27 points, most of her hoops coming around the basket. She also had a 3-pointer and went 8 for 12 at the free-throw line.

"She was a workhorse tonight," Mortensen said. "She did a lot of good things for us."

In a rare move, Mortensen brought Workman off the bench, a notion he said he'd been tinkering with to save her from getting into early foul trouble.

"Just trying something different," he said, adding "I don't think we're going to do it on a regular basis."

Charchalis, a guard, added to the scoring punch with 17 of her own, including three 3-pointers and 6 of 10 from the free-

throw line.

Rifle's quick perimeter players helped the Bears take control of the game early and negated Moffat County's size advantage. Using full-court pressure and taking advantage of some Moffat County miscues, the Bears had a 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

With 3:40 left in the second, Moffat County caught up, taking a one-point lead at 27-26. Two free throws gave it back to Rifle, before the Bulldogs ended the first half with an 8-2 run.

MCHS lead 36-30 at the break.

Moffat County and Rifle traded leads in the third quarter.

A hoop and a pair of free throws extended the Bulldogs' lead to double digits, 40-30, a minute and a half into the third.

But, Rifle wasn't done.

After Workman went to the bench with her third foul, the Bears mounted a comeback, and using an 11-0 run, took a one-point lead. Charchalis ended the Rifle run with a 3-pointer, putting MCHS up one. But Rifle regained it once more on junior Megan McWilliams' basket and ensuing free throw.

Two free throws by Moffat County's senior center Cayla Maneotis and a 3-pointer at the buzzer from junior MacKenzie Maneotis gave MCHS a 48-44 lead heading into the fourth.

MacKenzie Maneotis added another 3-pointer and a free throw in the fourth to give the Bulldogs a 55-46 lead.

Guards Kristin Guettler and Kendall Babler led the Rifle offense with 19 and 14 points, respectively. McWilliams added nine and junior Chelsea Webb chipped in with eight points.

"We scrapped," Rifle coach Brad Skinner said. "We were outsized, but the girls did a nice job battling. ... I don't think we wore down."

A big difference in the game, Skinner said, was Workman. His team didn't have an answer to her big night.

"She's just pretty talented," he said.

The Bulldogs visit Palisade at 6 p.m. Friday and Delta at 4 p.m. Saturday.

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