The Tiger boys basketball team closed out their season in thrilling fashion at home Friday night, beating Delta 64-63. Delta’s Ryan Whiteside had a chance to crush Summit’s spirits on senior night with an in-and-out three point attempt at the buzzer.
The miss sent Tiger fans to storming the court to celebrate with the team as if it was a playoff win.
“Man, it feels great,” senior point guard Max Ortiz said after the game. “Senior night, it feels awesome.”
“It’s what we needed for our seniors,” Tigers leading scorer Thomas DeBonville said. “They deserve it a lot.”
The Tigers carried the lead for much of the game and looked like they might close it out after Ortiz’s three put the Tigers up 62-52 with 3:20 remaining.
Delta came roaring back on a 10-to-2 run, to put the game within two, 64-62.
“We let it slip away and it went down to the wire,” DeBonville said.
Coach Phil Tronsrue assessed his team’s performance after the game. “We got a little crazy. We got a little uncomposed.”
With the Tigers up two in the closing minutes, a near steal on a diving effort by Delta’s Rami Fausto had the Tiger crowd uneasy. Summit maintained possession only to lose it out of bounds themselves. An ensuing foul put Delta on the line with 18 seconds left.
Missing one of the free throws, the Panthers closed the gap to within one, 64-63.
Delta maintained possession, but with 10 seconds remaining DeBonville came up with a big steal before being fouled and sent to the line.
With DeBonville unable to capitalize, Delta had one last opportunity with 5 seconds remaining. An impressive drive set up the Whiteside shot that fell short.
The consistency that the young Tiger team has struggled with all season almost caught up to them again in their final game.
“We’ve been playing well, we just haven’t been putting a complete game together,” Tronsrue said of his team’s season. “It almost cost us here again tonight.”
“We just couldn’t finish most of our games,” DeBonville said of the team’s 4-14 season.
The strong finish gives the team — of mostly of juniors and underclassmen — hope headed into next season. After a 0-7 start, the Tigers closed with a 4-7 record in their final 11 games. Their 4-10 in-conference record may still give them a dark horse shot at the post season. They’ll find out Monday if they managed to squeak into the tournament in Durango.
Girls Team ends season with home loss
The Tiger girls team also closed out their season at home Friday, falling to Delta 56-41. Head coach Dylan Hollingsworth cited costly turnovers and fouls for the loss. The girls closed the season with a 4-12 record, 1-11 in conference.