Summit boys basketball gets ‘wake-up call’ during big loss to Mead |

Summit boys basketball gets ‘wake-up call’ during big loss to Mead

Coach says remaining Tigers schedule is 'must win' to make state tournament

Banta Sylla, No. 3, joins the Tigers in celebration after Summit High School's win over Battle Mountain on Feb. 25 at Summit High School in Breckenridge. Summit didn’t fare as well Monday at Mead, taking a 59-24 loss.
Photo by Liz Copan / Studio Copan

The Summit High School varsity boys basketball team (7-5) experienced a wake-up call in a tough 59-24 road loss at Mead High School (7-3) on Monday night in Longmont.

The Mustangs — an annual statewide contender and the No. 5 ranked team in the state — jumped out to a dominant, commanding lead on the Tigers (7-5), who dropped to No. 25 in the state. They’re still hoping to be one of the 32 teams in the state tournament field, which was cut down from 48 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summit head coach Jordan Buller said his squad tried to compete against the Front Range team, which he called “on another level.” The coach pointed to the level of the Mustangs’ guard play as the best Summit has seen all season, while 6-foot-9-inch Mustangs junior James Shiers commanded the interior on both ends of the floor.

“He was a load, and he made some nice moves inside, but they didn’t rely on him. They just kind of went to him when it was appropriate,” Buller said. “It was their guards — they had three guards, one sophomore and two juniors — who play at a high level.”

Buller said Mead came out hungry after three recent losses, calling the Mustangs a “focused buzz saw,” one that’s looking to win four games this week to improve their state tournament seeding.

“It’s good for us to have a little bit of a wake-up call, even if it’s late in the season for that,” Buller said.

Buller said senior captains Tyler Nakos and Cam Kalaf played hard against a Mustangs frontline bigger and better than the Tigers are used to seeing. Buller added that seniors Marcus Popoff and Banta Sylla played well off the bench. Senior captain point guard Hector Diaz scored several fourth-quarter buckets to lead the team with 10 points.

The Tigers, 7-3 and in third place in the 4A Western Slope League, now turn their attention to a strong week of practice ahead of their final two games of the season: senior night versus Rifle (4-5, 3-4 4A Western Slope League) at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 5, in Breckenridge and a 2:45 p.m. matchup Saturday, March 6, at Eagle Valley (3-4, 2-4).

“We need to play a little bit better just to prove to ourselves we can step up and compete against a high-level team (in the state tournament),” Buller said. “Honestly, I feel like if we lose either of those games, we won’t make the (state) tournament. They are must-win.”

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