Buena Vista threatens Summit girls basketball team; Tigers walk away with 4th straight win | SummitDaily.com

Buena Vista threatens Summit girls basketball team; Tigers walk away with 4th straight win

Doussouba Sylla passes to a teammate during the Tigers' home game against the Palisade Bulldogs at Summit High School in Breckenridge on Jan. 5, 2023. Sylla played a significant role in Summit's 39-36 win over Buena Vista on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

The Summit High School girls basketball team is in the midst of a hot streak, and on Tuesday, Jan. 17, the team looked to make four straight victories as it faced 3A’s Buena Vista High School in Breckenridge.

After a slow start, the Tigers were able to find their groove in the second half and defeat the Demons, 39-36. 

The first half was especially slow for both teams. Summit looked disjointed and out of sync while Buena Vista had trouble making shots.

In the first four minutes of the game, only 7 points had been scored between the two teams with Buena Vista sporting 5 points and senior Autumn Rivera scoring the sole Summit basket.

Following a timeout from head coach Kayle Walker Burns, Summit attempted to swing the game in its favor. Fighting through contested shots in the paint, Rivera and senior Paola Arredondo brought the score to 7-7 to end the first quarter.

“Our Coal Ridge game was really awesome,” Rivera said. “We came out with great energy, and we fully crushed them. Going into practice again, we were kind of lax. At the beginning of this game, we weren’t pushing as hard because we were kind of expecting an easier win.”

Both the Tigers and the Demons continued to struggle to put points on the board in the second quarter.

The Summit offense was challenged by the constant pressure and aggression of the Buena Vista defense. On the other side of the court, the Demons continued to put up decent shots, but the opportunities did not lead to points. 

With a couple of minutes remaining in the first half, junior Gracelyn Garvert scored points off the bench and Rivera cashed in from inside the 3-point arc. Summit enjoyed a brief lead before Buena Vista’s Aubrey Johnson tied the game at 14-14 to conclude the first half.

“Something that our coach always says is that ‘we are not this team’,” Rivera said of what was talked about at halftime. “We are not that first-half team.”

Summit appeared to fully buy into being a better team than what was displayed in the first half, but Buena Vista still challenged the Tigers until the final buzzer.

Summit junior Doussouba Sylla was the first Summit player to truly catch fire in the game. After several made shots from beyond the 3-point line or from deep 2-point range, Sylla continued to play with intensity on the defensive side of the ball by scrounging for steals and hustling to loose balls.

The intense level of play led to offense for the Tigers with Arredondo draining a 3-pointer and Rivera powering her way inside for a layup. 

Heading into the final quarter, Summit led by seven points, 26-19.

Summit kept rolling with the momentum it gained in the third quarter to try to close out the game.

Arredondo, Sylla and Brina Babich led drives down the court which resulted in a quick four points to begin the quarter.

Buena Vista reeled for an answer, but the Summit defense intercepted passes and stole the ball away from the Demons. 

Following a 6-0 run by the Tigers, Buena Vista’s Johnson and Autumn Wingo worked in tandem to bring the score within five points with under three minutes remaining. Summit answered with baskets from Babich, Arredondo and Rivera, but Wingo single-handily kept the score close until the final seconds of the game.

With seconds remaining, Wingo had the opportunity to tie the game with a 3-pointer off the inbounds pass, but the Summit defense overwhelmed Buena Vista which led to a Demons turnover. 

Summit hung on to win 39-36 to advance to 5-5 on the season.

“It is tough because we should have blown them out, but I am glad we were able to push through and realize that we are the better team,” Rivera said of the win.

Summit will now prepare to face the 5-5 Moffat County High School Bulldogs in Craig on Friday, Jan. 20.

“Moffat County is another contender in the league for us,” Rivera said. “Right now we are first so I think we are pushing for that. Keep playing with the mentality that we are playing to win, not playing to lose. I know our team is super excited and ready to get another league win.”

The 4A Western Slope league game is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

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