Looking for its first win of the season, the Summit High School boys basketball team lost in a heartbreaker at home to Eagle Valley, 42-39, Tuesday night.
The game had it all: scoring swings, big comebacks, strong defense and a one-point difference in the final minute of play.
“This was our game, we just couldn’t hold on,” junior point guard Thomas Debonville said after the game.
The Tigers started strong, jumping to a 9-2 lead, but Eagle Valley came roaring back with an 18-4 run to put Summit down 20-13 midway through the second quarter.
“That was the swing of the game,” Tiger coach Phil Tronsrue said. “I don’t think we matched Eagle Valley’s intensity.”
Still the Tigers fought back with strong defense and solid rebounding in the second half, erasing the seven-point deficit.
A clutch three put by DeBonville put Summit up 40-39 late in the third quarter.
“We started playing with some urgency,” Tronsrue said of the comeback.
Summit’s strong effort continued into the fourth.
With a minute left to play Summit had the ball, down 40-39. A key turnover and foul put the Devils up 42-39. Down three, Summit took possession with 25.6 seconds left in the game.
Eagle coach Jim Bair took advantage of the two team fouls the Devils had left to give, letting the Tigers maintain possession but working the clock down to 7 seconds.
“I have to give Jim and Eagle Valley credit. They played the last 30 seconds or so pretty smart,” Tronsrue said. “It was a great strategic move late in the ball game.”
After the final in-bounds pass, DeBonville was forced into an off-balance three-point attempt.
“I was trying to get a screen and pass it back, but I couldn’t find anyone so I shot it,” DeBonville said. “It was just a bummer we couldn’t pull it out.”
The loss drops the Tigers to 0-7 (0-3 in conference) headed toward mid-season.
If the team hopes to turn things around it will take playing with more consistency, Tronsrue said.
“It’s about getting that complete game in and keeping that mental toughness for the full 32 minutes.”
All but one of the Tigers remaining games are in-conference.
“I think we can still play with everyone in the Western Slope,” Tronsrue said. “We just have to get over the hump.”
The team will host Rifle Friday.
DeBonville, who is the Tigers’ leading scorer, averaging 19-points, still believes in his team. “I think we’ll finish strong, we just gotta keep going.”
Girls basketball: The Tiger girls also played Eagle Valley Tuesday, losing 48-29 in Eagle. After starting the season 2-0, the loss drops them 2-4. The girls will also host Rifle Friday.