Summit girls basketball off to a fiery 3-1 start after 1st four games |

Summit girls basketball off to a fiery 3-1 start after 1st four games

Summit High School’s Autumn Rivera passes the ball to Kelley Duffy during the first quarter of the varsity girls basketball game against Battle Mountain on Feb. 25 at Summit High School in Breckenridge. Rivera helped lead this season’s team to a 3-1 start.
Liz Copan/For the Summit Daily News

The Summit High School girls basketball team has already tied its winning record from the 2020-21 season, when they went 3-11. The Tigers are off to a resounding start, already 3-1 and tied for second in the Western Slope League.

The Tigers started their season off Saturday, Dec. 4, when they played in a two-day tournament against league rivals Steamboat Springs and Rifle. Last season, the Tigers lost to Steamboat Springs and split a two-game series with Rifle.

Tigers vs. Sailors

In the early afternoon Saturday, the Tigers faced the Steamboat Sailors and dominated from the opening tip-off. In the first half, the Tigers outscored the Sailors 24-16 holding them to only 7 points in the second quarter.

The Tigers defense continued to shut down the Sailors in the second half as they worked hard to prevent any baskets from being made while still running up the score on their side of the floor.

The Tigers scored 22 points in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth to the Sailors’ combined 5 points for the entire half. Summit walked away with its first win of the season, 59-21.

Tigers vs. Bears

In Summit’s second game of the day against Rifle, a defensive battle ensued between the two league rivals. Rifle got out to a hot start, scoring 12 points in the first half to Summit’s four.

The second quarter was very slow moving, with only 6 points from the two teams. At halftime, Rifle sat in the lead, 16-6.

Summit rebounded in the second half, however, finding a way to produce on the offensive front. The Tigers scored 12 points in the third quarter, putting them down 20-18 going into the final quarter.

The Rifle Bears woke up from their hibernation in the third quarter, and matched the Tigers point for point in the fourth to win the game 30-28, handing the Tigers their first loss.

Tigers vs. Panthers

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, the Tigers traveled to Middle Park to face the Panthers, where they would allow only 13 points to be scored the entire game in large part due to the Tigers’ tough defensive press.

On offense, the Tigers were led by a 16-point night from junior Autumn Rivera, who shot a perfect seven for seven from the field. The Tigers got their second win of the season, topping the Panthers 48-13.

“The girls are hustling their butts off,” head coach Kayle Walker Burns said about the team’s first three games. “They work very hard, they want to win. I think one really cool thing about this team is that it is a joint effort. Everyone is contributing with younger girls even getting varsity minutes.”

Tigers vs. Generals

On Wednesday, Dec. 8, the Tigers traveled to Denver to take on the Arrupe Jesuit Generals. The Tigers had trouble early, were outscored in the first half of the game, 24-18, and went into the locker room in search of a way to change the current tides.

“I just feel like at the beginning we kind of had a slow start and that we were playing down to Arrupe Jesuit’s level,” Walker Burns said. “The girls couldn’t get that spark going, so I told them I could give them the tools to win, but you have to find it within yourself to fire yourself up and play hard like I know that they can.”

The Tigers did find their fire in the second half, not only shutting down the Generals on the offensive front but also finding ways to score.

Rivera, who was in foul trouble early in the game, came out of the intermission with senior Callie Smith ready to score. Rivera ended up with 21 points for the game while Smith was also strong for the Tigers, scoring 7 points of her own in order to help Summit get 20 points in the third quarter and 19 in the fourth.

Junior Paola Arredondo played shutout defense for the Tigers in the second half, allowing the Generals to score only 14 points. The Tigers won 57-38.

“Paola Arredondo is so good at defense,” Walker Burns said. “(Arrupe Jesuit) had a player that averages 11 points, scored 18 in her last game, but she was able to hold her to 10.”

Looking ahead

The Tigers will continue to play on the road until the start of the new year. They will travel Friday, Dec. 10, to Littleton, where they will face the 5A Chatfield Chargers, who are 4-1 on the season. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.

“I do think Chatfield will be our biggest test,” Walker Burns said. “Whenever we go to Denver, you play teams that are bigger, faster and stronger, so just having our girls keep their composure will be key. I think we can compete with them, but I think it will be our first real big challenge in terms of the competition we have seen.”

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