"We lost a tough one tonight to Battle Mountain," Summit boys' basketball coach Phil Tronsrue said after Wednesday's game on the road.
The 50-48 loss showcased a back-and-forth game with Summit behind two points at the end of the first quarter, only to take the lead by four points at the half and maintain the lead by one point at the end of the third quarter. It was in the final minutes of the game when Summit lost its lead. Despite sinking a three-pointer at the buzzer, it wasn't quite enough to make up the deficit.
"We ended up having some empty possessions and lost the lead, but fought back but didn't quite have enough," Tronsrue said.
Before fouling out of the game, Markeith McDonald tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds as the team leader. Cayman Lee rallied in the post to put up 10 points.
Battle Mountain's players are slightly taller than Summit's, but aside from that, the teams are comparable. Tronsrue noted that Battle Mountain seemed to shoot better from three-point range, with Jerry Carrasco shooting nearly 100 percent from the outside.
"I expect them to be a little better (this year) with more height at the post," Tronsrue said.
Tronsrue wants to use the week following Wednesday's season opener to hone the outside defense and work on rebounding, which proved to be an issue particularly on offense.
"We gave up in the neighborhood of nine to 11 offensive rebounds," Tronsrue said. "Four or five came off missed free throws. That really hurt us."
On the flip side, the team performed well under full-court pressure, Tronsrue said.
"Initially, we turned over the ball a few times," he said. "But, in the middle of the first quarter, we began to handle the pressure when they went with the full-court press."
The team did well splitting the traps, breaking the press and finding openings down the floor.
Tronsrue also named Lee the player of the game.
"He's been a question mark coming in this year, but he had a pretty sound game," the coach said, explaining that he wanted to see more aggression and attack from his post player last season - and Lee stepped it up in Wednesday's game.
"He played the position soft last year, and this year he's showing more aggressiveness and getting up to the square of the backboard," Tronsrue said. "He definitely attacked the rim (Wednesday) night."
On Dec. 5, the team heads to the Skyline Tournament, where they'll face off with Skyline before meeting the winner of the Sterling-Thornton game.
"Both (Sterling and Thornton) are good and sound. They'll give us some good challenges," Tronsrue said. "We're on the better end of that bracket. Hopefully, it prepares us for some more Western Slope play."