The Summit girls' basketball team (1-11 overall, 0-11 Western Slope) hung with the Palisade Bulldogs until fatigue and missed free throws got them in the fourth quarter, costing them a 49-34 loss on Saturday afternoon.
It was a game that angered and dissatisfied Palisade head coach Danielle Bagwell, who said in short, "We started slow. We did not play like we can," and, "We played sluggish defense."
The Bulldogs (6-7 overall, 5-3 Slope) took off in the fourth quarter, when the team outscored the Tigers 20-7. Summit head coach Dylan Hollingsworth attributes the loss mostly to lack of depth, saying the team played well throughout the majority of the game.
"Our bench isn't very deep right now," Hollingsworth said. "Lily (Weldon) went out with an injury in second quarter and (Bailey Thompson) quit this week. It's just depth. Your rotations become that much more difficult."
It's also about combatting the runs, Hollingsworth said.
"They have to try to fight through. Against Glenwood the other day, we were up with 1 minute, 15 seconds left and they went on a 6-0 run. They were up five at the half. It's those runs where we've got to keep our cool about us, so to speak."
Summit hung with the Bulldogs, 17-15 at the end of the half. Starting the third quarter, Summit looked to possibly take the lead. The Tigers responded to No. 45's field goal with one of their own, and Sam Salquist, who had a leading 11 points on the game, put up a three-pointer, with Rita Foth following with her own, tying the game at 27-27. By the end of the third quarter, Summit remained just two points back, 29-27.
When the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 47-31, Summit's Kayce Chaparas crashed the basket to earn herself free throws, but couldn't convert at the line. She was three of 12 in the second half, missing seven in the fourth quarter alone. The team as a whole shot 11 of 20 from the charity stripe.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' Casey Brown stepped up as a force to be reckoned with as the game wound down.
Summit's depth has been a factor in the past three games, which have been lost following solid leads going into the final portion of the game, Hollingsworth said.
Despite the losing season, the coach is proud of his team.
"They have improved so much from where they were at at the beginning of the year to where they're playing now," Hollingsworth said. "The way we're playing now, we'd have quite a few more wins under our belt if we'd have played like that at the beginning of the season."
Communication on defense, taking initiative on offense and boxing out are helping them stand up to competition as the season winds down.
"The girls have bought into boxing out, so we are winning the battles of the boards pretty significantly compared to early in the season, when we'd give up shot after shot," Hollingsworth said. "We are not the greatest offensive team, so we have to play much harder on defense."