Summit girls basketball powers past Coal Ridge to sweep Titans in league play

Tigers go on to defeat Basalt High School on Saturday

Brina Babich moves to the hoop during the Tigers' home game vs. the Palisade Bulldogs at Summit High School in Breckenridge on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

The Summit High School girls basketball team had six days to think about its loss to Delta High School last Saturday — six whole days to improve and adjust in practice before a rematch against a competitive 12-4 Coal Ridge High School basketball team on Friday, Feb. 3.

The extended preparation appeared to pay off for the Tigers as the team completed a season-long sweep of the Coal Ridge Titans with a 37-35 win.

The game began with a fury of possessions up and down the court between the two 4A Western Slope league competitors. 

The fast pace of play carried throughout the quarter and resulted in few points being scored by either the Titans or Tigers.

Coal Ridge was led by senior Jackie Camunez, who scored several points within the first few minutes of the game, while seniors Joselin Lopez and Paola Arredondo scored points for the Tigers.

A 3-pointer by Arredondo ignited the Summit offense and defense, resulting in forced turnovers which led to more points.

A field goal by senior Autumn Rivera at the end of the quarter gave Summit a 9-7 lead going into the second quarter.

For most of the second quarter, Summit found itself in a shooting slump and struggled to extend its lead.

On the other side of the floor, the Coal Ridge offense cut through the Summit defense to tie the game at 12-12 with less than three minutes remaining in the first half. 

Summit searched for the lead going into halftime, but failed to make a basket, scoring only 3 points in the quarter. At the end of the first 16 minutes of play, Summit trailed 16-12.

Coal Ridge came out firing in the third quarter. More specifically, Camunez caught fire from 3-point range, extending the Titans’ lead to 22-12 within the first two minutes of the fresh half.

After another basket from Camunez, head coach Kayle Walker Burns called a timeout to help settle and invigorate her team.

Out of the timeout, the Tigers remained offensively challenged. The Coal Ridge defense prevented usual scorers Rivera and Arredondo from finding the basket.

Playing off of the bench, freshman Kenya Rodriguez started to jumpstart the Summit offense. Rodriguez scored points inside while fighting through elbows and arms for offensive rebounds.

“Honestly I did kind of feel nervous because they are older than me, but I just had my own confidence and the support of my team,” Rodriguez said of her play. “I decided to get some steals and rebounds.”

Senior Brina Babich brought the score within 8 points as the Tigers entered the final quarter of play down 26-18. 

Summit shook things up in the fourth quarter by applying a press on the Coal Ridge offense. The press led to turnovers and rushed plays from the Titans, which led to points from the Tigers.

The influx of points frustrated Coal Ridge, which committed two technical fouls, one by the Coal Ridge bench and the other by senior Aceleigh Porter.

The two technical fouls brought the score within 4 for the Tigers, with the score at 26-22 with over five minutes remaining.

A basket by Rivera in the paint brought the score to 26-24 and silenced the visiting Coal Ridge crowd.

Over the final five minutes of the game, the two teams battled across the court. With around three minutes remaining, a 3-pointer by Lopez and a layup by Rodriguez gave the Tigers a 31-29 lead.

With under two minutes remaining, Summit led 33-29 and Coal Ridge reeled for a basket. The Titans brought the score within 2 points, but Rodriguez and Arredondo remained stoic, icing the game with free throws and a jump shot.

Summit defeated Coal Ridge, 37-35.

“It feels good,” Rodriguez said. “At first I thought we were going to lose, but we decided to gain some confidence and get our shots up. It feels great to defeat Coal Ridge because we are coming for Delta now.”

Summit played again on Saturday, Feb. 4, and defeated Basalt High School 53-42 to advance to 9-7 on the season.

Senior Kelley Duffy played a significant role for Summit in its win against Basalt by hustling on defense and keeping the momentum high on offense.

The Summit girls basketball team will now prepare to host Battle Mountain High School at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

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