Proven senior duo returns to pace aggressive Summit High School girls basketball team
Editor’s note: The below article has been updated to correct the spelling of freshman guard Kelley Duffy’s name.
BRECKENRIDGE — If the Summit High School varsity girls basketball team is to improve on the Tigers’ 8-15 record from last season, it’ll come on the strength of a stifling 2-2-1 zone press and a focus on earning good shot opportunities on the offensive end.
Tigers head coach Kayle Walker Burns will lean on a star senior captain in the post, Anna Tomlinson, and a star senior captain at point guard, Nicole Kimball, as the team’s leaders on and off the court. After each averaged just under nine points per game last season, the 5-foot-8 Tomlinson and 5-4 Kimball figure to be the players Summit’s offense runs through.
In terms of Summit’s guardplay, Kimball will be complemented by junior captain guard and the team’s third leading scorer last season, 5-6 guard and small forward Karen Barrios. During her three years on varsity, Kimball has proven she’s one of the area’s best point guards at handling possession and breaking down opponents’ defensive pressure. Considering her talent shooting off the catch, the Tigers figure to involve Barrios in a point-guard-like playmaking role, looking for Kimball coming off offensive action and screens and Tomlinson in the high and low post.
“I like giving Karen the ball up top because she sees the court well,” Kimball said. “So I feel comfortable with it in her hands.”
The captain trio of Barrios, Kimball and Tomlinson have each stuck with basketball in a ski town after picking up the game in elementary school. Barrios and Tomlinson each had older sisters who played on the Tigers varsity that they could look up to. For Tomlinson, she was born into a basketball family where her father and grandfather also coached her, grooming her during pick-up practice at the Breckenridge Recreation Center to become the kind of dynamic inside-out threat from the post that will play a crucial role for Walker Burns offensively.
Walker Burns said the post player is an offensive threat the coach is confident with shooting from the low-post to the high-post all the way back to the 3-point line. Tomlinson’s offensive presence is a major key to the Tigers successfully operating their four-players-outside, one-in-the-post offense or their 5-out attack.
“That is a huge thing that we want to get her the ball,” the coach said. “I feel like I am pretty hard on these kids, and I always tell them, ‘If I didn’t think you could do it, I would keep my mouth shut. But I have hopes that you can do it, and I know you can do it, so I’m always going to push you. Even when you do well, I’m going to continue to push you.’ And I feel she’s one of those. I get on her, and she puts her head down and goes to work and works harder.”
Dec. 7: vs. Middle Park, 2 p.m.
Dec. 11-14: Jeffco Jungle Jam Tournament, Littleton
Dec. 18: at West Grand, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 20: vs. Green Mountain, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 9: at JFK, 7 p.m.
Jan. 11: vs. Palisade, 12:30 p.m.
Jan. 14: at Glenwood Springs, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 21: vs. Buena Vista, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 23: vs. Eagle Valley, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 25: at Palisade, 12:30 p.m.
Jan. 28: vs. Rifle, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 31: at Steamboat Springs, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 4: vs. Glenwood Springs, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 7: at Battle Mountain, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 11: at Rifle, 6 p.m.
Feb. 13: at Lake County, 7 p.m.
Feb. 15: at Eagle Valley, 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 19: vs. Aspen, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 22: vs. Steamboat Springs, 12:30 p.m.
In her final go-round, Kimball will look to follow up on leading the Summit rugby team to its 12th-straight state championship with a stronger all-around year on the hardwood. Kimball said she wants to become an even more complete player for the Tigers this year, playing a role in creating turnovers and providing a balanced force on the offensive end.
“Over the past four years, I think I’ve controlled the ball well,” Kimball said. “Coach definitely utilizes me for breaking presses and stuff like that. But in the past years, I haven’t had that many points, so this year I want to go for stats, assists, points and steals.”
Despite playing a fast-paced and pressure-filled style on both ends of the court, Walker Burns said she likes to operate the Tigers program with an element of competition between players through the whole season. As such, she said she likes to play a short bench, just seven to eight players on the varsity level. She also said the early and middle portions of the season will go a long ways to seeing who joins the three captains as primary contributors at the varsity level, as there likely will be movement between the varsity, JV and C teams from week to week.
Joining the captain trio in the Tiger starting lineup will be sophomore Sarah Pappas, a 5-9 small forward who should play a versatile role for the Tigers. To start the season, Walker Burns said 5-8 senior post Emily Chavez will likely round out the starting lineup, though there should be competition for playing time through the season with junior 5-5 guard Maleena Mero, freshman 5-5 guard Kelley Duffy, freshman 5-4 guard Paolo Arredondo, freshman 5-8 small forward and post Brina Babich and freshman 5-9 small forward and post Autumn Rivera vying for playing time.
Whoever is out there on the court, Walker Burns hopes her team is one that will impose their pace and style of play on both ends of the court in 4A Western Slope League competition that often is run-and-gun full court.
“Just being fast, quick and aggressive,” the coach said about what she hopes to see from her team. “On offense, we want to see a lot of drives, taking it hard to the hoop, finishing. Not expecting to get fouled and bailed out, but finishing those tougher shots with defense in your face. And on defense, that we are in your face, that we are aggressive and just hopefully that we are quick and a tough team to play against.”
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