Rifle wins at last second

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— Tyler Gose scored all five of his points in less than 20 seconds Friday, lifting the Rifle boys basketball team to a 48-47 win against Steamboat Springs.

Had Stuart Stapleton or Drew Blatchford not fouled out late in the fourth quarter, there is a good chance Gose would not have been on the floor.

"I didn't play that well," he said. "I was lazy, and that's why I didn't play that much."

Trailing by four points with 31.8 seconds left, the Bears came down the floor and worked the ball around to Gose. After the Sailors switched on screens, Gose, who is 6-foot-2, found himself on the baseline matched up against Steamboat point guard Michael Vandahl, who is 5-foot-9.

Gose hesitated and took an awkward three-point shot over Vandahl, but the ball went in with 17 seconds left.

"I knew we needed it," Gose said. "But I wasn't comfortably shooting it."

Rifle called timeout and discussed what to do defensively, trailing 47-46.

"If the clock got to a certain point, we were going to foul, but we wanted to give ourselves a shot to get the steal," Bears coach Chris Lowther said.

Steamboat got the ball past mid-court, but an errant pass ended up in the hands of Rifle, which called its final timeout with 6.9 seconds left, setting up Gose's game-winning shot from the top of the lane. The ball went through the net as time expired.

"We thought maybe the guy throwing it in would be open, and that was Tyler," Lowther said. "He wasn't as open as I hoped."

The Sailors had one foul to give, and assistant John Ameen said the players were told to use it. They did not.

Ameen was coaching in place of Kelly Meek, who was serving a one-game suspension for being ejected against Battle Mountain on Jan. 14.

After the game, Ameen reached for the statistic clipboard to count the number of turnovers. The sheet read 16, but he thought the number had to be higher.

"It was the story of the game," he said. "We were playing so well defensively in the first half and into the third quarter, it really didn't hurt us."

Then, the Sailors had a few breakdowns on defense, and the Bears started making shots. Steamboat watched a 13-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate to three points with 1:41 remaining.

"The motto was to keep fighting," Gose said. "We've been struggling."

Rifle had not won a league game since beating Eagle Valley in early January. The win moved the Bears to 3-8 overall. The Sailors drop to 7-7 overall and 3-3 in the league.

Stapleton and senior Mitch Kosht led the Bears with 13 points each. Sophomore Scott Rust had nine.

Senior Mitch Bryden led the Sailors with 15 points and six rebounds. Bryden had 13 of his points in the fourth quarter. Junior Cameron Petet had 13 points and eight rebounds. Senior Scott Peterson had seven points and five assists.

Up next for Steamboat is a 7:30 p.m. game today against league-leading Glenwood Springs at Steamboat Springs High School.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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