Summit boys basketball on track for state tournament after win at Glenwood
Summit girls lose 36-26 at Vail Christian
Playing back-to-back nights is always tough, but the Summit High School varsity boys basketball team (7-4, 7-3 4A Western Slope League) closed out the accomplishment with a steely 54-49 win at Glenwood Springs (3-8, 2-6) Friday night.
Summit head coach Jordan Buller called Glenwood’s gym a tough place to play. The coach felt his guys played disciplined and hard to come back from a 4-point halftime deficit after shooting struggles and foul troubles in an uneasy first half.
Buller pointed to senior captain Cam Kalaf and senior Kobe Cortright, who lit the energy for the Tigers on Friday by finding transition points thanks to hustle and hard work. Their versatile wing player Kalaf finished with 9 points, including one 3-pointer, four rebounds and two assists while Cortright scored 4 points and grabbed three rebounds.
“Both of them are big-time competitors who wanted to get after it,” Buller said. “I felt like our guards were a little sluggish, so the big men did a good job keeping the pace of the game high.“
“Cam is just Cam,” the coach continued. “He was getting to the basket strong and scoring from the places where he should. And then being the leader that he is, he also found a couple nice passes by just being aggressive. Cam and (second captain point guard) Hector (Diaz) made big free throws to end the game in the last 30 seconds to really seal it.”
Summit’s leading scorer was senior captain Tyler Nakos, who finished with 11 points thanks to a 3-for-5 showing from behind the 3-point line to go with three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Buller said Nakos battled through early foul trouble for the second straight night to provide the team what he could.
Tigers sharpshooting senior Naz Poliuk was 2-for-4 from 3-point range for 6 points on the night. The Tigers had a balanced offensive output with 6 points from senior Andrew Duxbury and 4 points apiece from Diaz and senior wing Banta Sylla. Buller also complimented Poliuk’s improved defensive effort and execution.
“Banta’s defense is menacing and bothered Glenwood,” Buller said. “His offense was a little bit out of rhythm compared to how he played on Friday — but all of us, in a way, were out of rhythm. It’s tough to have a big, emotional win over Battle (Mountain) Thursday, then step in and play a tough-minded Glenwood team.”
Buller said Duxbury’s 4-for-6 showing from the foul line helped the Tigers in the end, including two big-time late free throws after Buller and assistant coach Mark Kimball made eye contact with the “gamer.” Another Tigers player who excelled at the line Friday was 6-foot-6-inch underclassmen Ephraim Overstreet. After struggling at the free-throw line in recent games, Overstreet shot 6-of-8 at the charity stripe Friday en route to a season-high 10 points to combine with four offensive rebounds and one blocked shot.
“That was probably his best game of his career,” Buller said. “He used his size advantage last night, and we focused to get him the ball inside. He made some good post moves and had a big effect on rebounding. Staying after the games and practice paid off for him.”
The Tigers are on the right side of the bubble to get into the 32-team 4A state tournament ahead of a road trip Monday to Mead (6-3). The Mavericks are another team looking to improve their tournament resume ahead of the mathematical ratings selection for the tournament after next week’s games. Early Saturday evening, Summit ranked in 23rd place while Mead was sixth in the state.
“We will need to put together a good last week here,” Buller said. “Mead’s big kid inside, he’s 6-foot-9, is scoring well, averaging five blocks a game. And their two guards outside play well from what we can tell on tape.
“But this is part of trying to be a good, wining school, to build this program, to play a team who is better than you. So picking up this game is good for us, to see if can we go compete with guys down in the city. I think we will be playing our best basketball over the next week or two to give us a chance in the (state) tournament.”
Summit girls lose, 36-26, at Vail Christian
The Summit girls saw their record drop to 2-9 on the season Saturday after a 36-26 loss on the road at Vail Christian.
Summit head coach Kayle Walker-Burns said the team executed its offense well but shots just weren’t falling for the Tigers. Summit also struggled to shut down Vail Christian senior scorer Grace McCurdy, an offensive talent who entered the game averaging 20 points per game on the season and tallied 22 on Saturday. That said, Walker-Burns was proud of the Tigers’ defensive effort to hold Vail Christian to 36 points.
“The girls had a lot of fight and intensity in them,” Walker-Burns said. “Our press worked well, and we forced a lot of turnovers.”
The Tigers’ leading scorer Saturday was Autumn Rivera with 8 points, followed by Callie Smith and Brina Babich with 6 points each. Summit’s record stands at 1-7 in 4A Western Slope League play ahead of a Monday home game versus Basalt (9-2) and a Friday senior night home game versus Rifle (7-3, 7-1).
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