The Summit Tigers boys' basketball team clung to its lead at the end of its non-conference game with Buena Vista Tuesday for a 55-51 win.
After Markeith McDonald and Cayman Lee got into foul trouble in the first quarter, the Tigers' lead turned into a deficit in the second, requiring a halftime game plan for how to get the two key players back into the game to help defend and put points on the board.
"Markeith is an important cog on our offense in a half-court or three-quarter-court trap. ... We use him to attack the back guy. That was our problem the second quarter - we didn't have him in that position," head coach Phil Tronsrue said.
Once the team left the locker room, it took control of the court, stopping Buena Vista's momentum to gain the lead and not let go. It came down to making free throws as the Demons were forced to foul to regain possession, and the TIgers didn't disappoint.
Coy Coker finished the night with 14 points, sinking two three-pointers and hitting four of eight from the free throw line. The point guard also had eight rebounds, two assists and four steals. Garret Tousey and McDonald each contributed nine points, while Max Ortiz sank two three-pointers to lend a hand to the team.
Tronsrue said his team showed poise and discipline in a tough game.
"We've been starting out good, but then we crumble, or we don't handle the pressure of fighting back once we lost the lead," he said. "We handled that situation a whole lot better (Tuesday) night."
The Tigers bump to 4-13 on the season (3-9 in the Western Slope conference). At 7 p.m. Friday, they play Rifle in a must-win game to have a chance at making the playoffs. If the team splits with Rifle, Summit gives itself a better chance of landing a seed, as many of the teams are locked up in ties right now. The Tigers have fewer games to play and more losses to make up for.
Meanwhile, the girls' team lost another one on the road. The Lady Demons defeated Summit 67-30, putting them at 1-16 overall.
Another win, another step toward the playoffs.
Summit High's hockey team broke through a Battle Mountain barrier Monday night to tally both another win and vengeance on the team that crushed it, 7-2, in the early season.
The 3-1 win sends Summit on its way toward its final three games in the hunt for a playoff seed.
"Hopefully we're starting to hit a stride a little bit and starting to understand a few things. It's too bad it took until Game (16) to start to figure it out," head coach Chris Ruhly said.
The fact that the team took on its rival (based on proximity) and knowing playoffs are at stake may have spurred the team into action, the coach said.
Though the first period's play was below average, allowing Battle Mountain's Bjorn Bredeson the only goal in the period, things picked up from there, Ruhly said. Travis Potts scored on an assist from Peter Grotemeyer, and then the third period sealed the deal. Simo Korpela skated the puck from end to end, making a few "nice" plays along the way before taking a hard shot to beat the goaltender. Then, Jack Nevicosi put his body in the way of a Battle Mountain shot, putting the puck to ice and he skated it to an empty net to score.
"It was probably one of the best periods we've played all season," Ruhly said about the third. "The energy was high, the intensity was there."
It was also a night Ruhly's team played for a full 51 minutes, he said.
This weekend will be a test of the team's fate. On Friday, it travels to Standley Lake, which is a top team in the conference. On Saturday, the Tigers face off against Aspen for their final home game of the season and senior night.
"This weekend is going to be a big test for us. It's going to come down to playing hard for 51 minutes, mistake-free hockey," Ruhly said, adding that if the Tigers tally wins this weekend, a playoff seed might come down to who wins the Steamboat contest next week.