Winter Preps Spotlight: Summit basketball’s Dimitri Preciado, Andrew Shaw and Kassidy Pothier | SummitDaily.com

Winter Preps Spotlight: Summit basketball’s Dimitri Preciado, Andrew Shaw and Kassidy Pothier

Editor's note: This is Part Three of a three-part series on 2016-17 winter sports athletes. Read on for Part One with Nordic skiers, wrestlers and swimmers, and Part Two with swimmers and divers.

Chances are basketball will never be as big as skiing or running or even football in the High Country. But that doesn't mean the hardcourt is dying off.

Earlier this winter, Summit High School's two varsity basketball teams welcomed two brand-new head coaches: Jordan Buller for the boys and Kellyn Glynn for the girls. New blood on the bench is rarely a bad thing, and the first-year coaches are bringing new philosophies to their respective programs. It might not show in the mid-season records — the girls are 3-8 and the boys are 5-5, and neither team has won a league matchup — but these Tigers play fierce, competitive ball. Most of their losses are close, while most of their wins are lopsided.

This season looks particularly promising for the boys, who already have four more wins than they managed all of last season when they finished 1-19. With the meat of the league schedule remaining, the Summit Daily sports desk talked with all-star point guards and senior leaders from both Tigers basketball programs for a look at why hoops in the High Country matters.

Dimitri Preciado | No. 23 Tigers basketball

Dimitri Preciado just keeps getting better. After 10 games this season, the Tigers starting point guard is one of the best on the court, averaging 15 points per game and half as many assists to lead his team in both categories. He's also a junior now, and that means he's bigger, smarter and faster than he was in his sophomore season, when he first started to stand out as a playmaker. It's his turn to shine.

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First basketball memory: The first time I played basketball I was in fourth grade. I played optimist basketball at Silverthorne Elementary and I was on a really good team with one of my best friends. What made me come back to playing basketball (is) that I found it very fun.

My basketball highlight: Being able to play basketball at a very competitive level with all my friends that I've been playing since elementary (school).

My favorite memory off the court: Getting a game winner at one of our AAU (club) games in Denver versus a really good team.

If I weren't playing basketball…: I'd probably be playing soccer or football. I played soccer when I was younger and football looks like fun to play.

Pregame meal: Nothing specific, just something healthy, or anything that won't make my stomach upset while playing.

Post-win celebration: After a big win, the way I celebrate is I just relax and hang out with my family.

Pump-up music: At the moment I don't have any favorite artists, but I listen to all types of music while working out or during pre-game.

My pre-game ritual: I have no pre-game rituals.

Biggest rival on the court: Battle Mountain has always been one of my rivals, ever since middle school. The reason I would say Battle Mountain is because they beat us in the championship (my) eighth grade year.

Andrew Shaw | No. 3 Tigers basketball

At 6 feet, 5 inches, it's no wonder senior Andrew Shaw is the Tigers starting center. But being tall is only a small part of the battle — you need the talent to back it up. The 17-year-old started playing basketball in elementary school with teammates like Preciado, and that long, storied history shows on the court. Shaw knows where to be and when to be there, with rebounds, assists and at least one or two baskets per game.

"We're always pushing our guys to be tougher and more physical, and Andrew is leading the way with rebounds and making things happen," head coach Buller said. "He's been great for us."

First basketball memory: The first time I played basketball I really enjoyed the sport because it was just fun to play and score. When you score or get a block there is not much of a better feeling, and it has kept me coming back to play every year.

My basketball highlight: This year and the relationships I have made throughout the years I have played. Everyone is like family, and those relationships will always be there beyond the wins and losses.

My favorite memory off the court: Bonding time we've spent on the trips and bus rides has turned into my favorite memory with the guys on the team.

If I weren't playing basketball…: I'd probably be skiing all the time since that's what Summit county is all about.

Pregame meal: I don't have a favorite meal — I just like to eat a lot throughout the day.

Post-win celebration: Go out and hang out with my friends is the best way to celebrate a big win and just enjoy it.

Pump-up music: I like to listen to good rap or hip-hop music before a game and during warm-ups, just because it gets everyone ready to play.

My pre-game ritual: For basketball I don't have any rituals, but personally I like to dress nice before games and look good that day. Looking good means playing good in my opinion.

Biggest rival on the court: Battle Mountain has always been a rival, but Eagle Valley is, in my opinion, more of a rival because we want (to) beat both these teams every year and we have played since middle school, so the rivalry has been around for longer than just high school.

Kassidy "KP" Pothier | No. 12 Tigers basketball

It's no mystery to figure out where Kassidy Pothier spends most of her time come summer and fall. Like teammates Cassidy Bargell and Natalie Grey, Pothier is a rugby player at heart, and the three (plus a few more bench players) bring an intimidating level of physicality to the Tigers. Pothier manages just two or four points per game, but she averages nearly four rebounds per game and is regularly in the thick of the fray after shots. At 16 years old, the junior and three-year varsity player has time to fine-tune her game.

First basketball memory: The first basketball game I played in I went the wrong way. Good thing they called an over and back so I didn't shoot in the wrong basket. Since that game, though, I knew I liked the game.

My basketball highlight: Freshman year, when I got to go with the varsity team to regionals and play in it and score some of my first varsity points.

My favorite memory off the court: When our team rides the small bus and we listen to our music, and all of us just have a fun time together before our games.

If I weren't playing basketball…: I would probably being playing rugby, or I wouldn't be playing anything. It is nice to have a sport every season, but I wouldn't mind the break.

Pregame meal: Anything pasta. The seniors always used to bring us pasta before every home game, so since then that's what I eat.

Post-win celebration: Riding back with the team and talking about the game if it is an away game. If it is a home game, I like to celebrate with everyone who watched the game.

Pump-up music: My favorite genre to get me pumped up for games or practices is either pop or rap. My favorite type of music to listen to, though, is for sure country.

My pre-game ritual: I have to listen to music before I play and I have to wear my hair the same way every game. I have done this since freshman year.

Biggest rival on the court: I'd say our biggest rival is Battle Mountain. We always play really well against them and we have always looked forward to the game with them, but who knows, maybe this year another team will be the game we look forward to playing.