Tiger boys fall to Moffat County | SummitDaily.com

Tiger boys fall to Moffat County

Devon O'Neil

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

FARMER’S KORNER – Turnovers, missed layups, zero offensive rhythm. This is what young and inexperienced basketball teams look like. Not surprisingly, this is also what the Summit High School boys hoops team looked like in its season opener Saturday night.In losing to an experienced, battle-tested Moffat County team at home, 58-42, the Tigers illustrated that they are every bit of what SHS coach Mike Rathgeber called “a work in progress.”Summit hung tough with the Bulldogs, and even led by a point at halftime (22-21). But as the hosts wore down in the second half, the visitors heated up. Summit’s short bench caught up with it, and the Tigers began missing shot after shot while Moffat used an up-tempo transition game to convert on the other end of the floor.”We just didn’t have legs,” said SHS junior Clint Hamilton, who led the Tigers with 15 points and three blocks. “I was feeling it in the first quarter; I had dry mouth and everything. But it was probably just the butterflies.”

Yes, the nerves were there, too. And for a team with just two varsity returners, it was to be expected. Same goes for the 16 turnovers. Still, until the Bulldogs took off on a 12-0 run to begin the fourth quarter, the game was still up for grabs. The Tigers trailed just 34-31 going into the final period. But almost before they knew it, their hopes had gone from very much alive to on life support.A trio of 3-point shots from Jordan McCarthy and Hamilton were the only things that kept the final margin below 20.”Typically with a young team that’s got very little varsity experience, the offense is going to sputter,” Rathgeber said. “I’m feeling pretty good about this game. We’ve got nobody. We’ve got nobody with varsity experience. Two kids we put on the floor tonight had varsity experience. That Moffat County team has been together since the eighth grade.”

SHS junior Tucker Shelden finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and five steals in an energized varsity debut, and McCarthy – one of the two returners, along with Hamilton – tallied eight points and seven rebounds.Derek Duran led the Bulldogs (1-1) with 18.Like his teammates, Hamilton struggled all game to get shots to fall. He was playing his first game as Summit’s go-to scorer, and Rathgeber said both Hamilton and the rest of the Tigers need to improve in allowing him to fulfill that role.”I thought Clint was a little tentative. I also thought they did a good job double-teaming him,” Rathgeber said. “We have plays to get him the ball, but we don’t have players who are confident enough to get him the ball when he’s pinched. And he was pinched a lot tonight.”

Summit returns to the court Tuesday night at Lake County, the Tigers’ only road game in their first seven contests. Rathgeber and his players understand they’re looking at a situation with baby steps ruling the rate of improvement.”This is a work in progress, but I’ve got no complaints about tonight,” Rathgeber said. “I’m certainly disappointed in losing the game, but I can find far more things that went better than I thought they’d go, than things that went worse than I thought they’d go.”Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.