Summit High School girls basketball team looks toward 2023 after slate of challenging games |

Summit High School girls basketball team looks toward 2023 after slate of challenging games

Senior Brina Babich, left, and senior Autumn Rivera try to bring down the rebound in Summit's game at Centauri High School on Saturday, Dec. 17. Summit lost to Centauri 45-43 to fall to 1-5 on the season. Summit is hopeful that its challenging slate of games to start the season will help them in the second half of the season.
Shelly Swing/Courtesy photo

The Summit High School girls basketball team has had a challenging start to the 2022-23 basketball season. 

In hopes of increasing the team’s RPI, the team has faced six competitive and challenging teams to start the season. Over the course of Summit’s first six games, the Tigers have only earned one win — against Evergreen High School on Dec. 3.

After the Tigers’ 48-45 win over Evergreen, Summit has gone on a five game losing streak, falling to some of the best girls basketball teams in the state. 

Despite the losses, head coach Kayle Walker Burns and the Summit girls basketball team is hopeful that playing formidable opponents early in the season will result in more wins in the new year.

“I think one thing worth noting is that we are trying to play tougher competition because of RPI,” Walker Burns said. “That may mean we won’t win as many games, but it will hopefully set us up better for playoffs. Our heads are held high and our goal is still to get to the playoffs.”

After losing to D’Evelyn High School, the second-ranked team in the state, on Dec. 7, Summit fell to Longmont in a highly contested 48-44 affair on Dec. 9. 

The very next day following the loss, Summit was forced to play Sand Creek High School at 10 a.m., but the late night and travel to and from the Front Range from the day before resulted in a tired squad coming to the court. 

The fatigue resulted in Summit being slightly thrown off its game and losing to Sand Creek, 58-48.

“We were sluggish and really struggled to shut down their two great players offensively,” Walker Burns said. “I think we were also going through some growing pains and I think if we matched up with them again we would be able to compete better.”

Senior Autumn Rivera tries to get around Centauri High School sophomore Hannah Curtis on Saturday, Dec. 17. In a close battle, Summit lost to Centauri 45-43.
Shelly Swing/Courtesy photo

Senior captain Autumn Rivera led the team against Sand Creek with a double-double effort, recording 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Tigers’ loss. Fellow senior captain Paola Arredondo recorded 6 points and 10 rebounds while junior Ellie Sudduth contributed three steals to Summit’s box score. 

With six days in between games, Summit was better prepared for its matchup against Alamosa High School on Friday, Dec. 16.

The matchup between the two teams was especially special to both head coaches, Erik Melgoza, Walker Burns’ high school coach — is now the coach of the Alamosa Mean Moose.

Summit matched up well against Alamosa, running a stiff press that Melgoza taught Walker Burns when she was in high school. 

“Our press — one that I ran in high school that has been adapted for Summit — really created a lot of issues for them,” Walker Burns said. “Alamosa was running the same press, but we broke it easily and felt encouraged that we ran it better.”

The Mean Moose kept the game close, however, and at the end of regulation, the two teams remained tied at 40-40.

Holding Summit to only one point in overtime, Alamosa defeated Summit 46-41. 

In the overtime loss, senior Brina Babich had a standout performance. Babich recorded 11 points, 10 rebounds and three steals to record a double-double. The Tigers also produced 12 deflections and 16 steals, most of which came off the press. In total the Tigers had 18 points off of turnovers. 

Summit concluded its slate of games in 2022 with a loss to Centauri High School on Saturday, Dec. 17. Much like the Tigers’ game against Alamosa, the game remained close in the early parts of the game, but the Falcons pulled away in the latter part of the game. 

Summit outscored Centauri for the majority of the game, leading 11-9 at halftime and 36-28 to start the fourth quarter. The lead was not enough to hold off the Falcons however, as Centauri produced 17 points to Summit’s 7 in the final quarter of play, defeating Summit 45-43.

“This has been the most exciting game of them all,” Walker Burns said. “Centauri is a great team and it was a fun matchup. Our girls watched them defeat La Junta 60-15 the day before, but they showed up without any fear.”

Senior Brina Babich (1) and senior Paola Arredondo (21) attempt to stop Centauri High School senior Caitlin Creel on Saturday, Dec. 17. Summit fell to 1-5 on the season after losing 45-43 to Centauri.
Shelly Swing/Courtesy photo

With a record of 1-5, Summit feels well prepared to take on its league schedule once it returns from the holiday break.

“I think we are beginning to practice how we play and play how we practice,” Arredondo said. “I think Autumn and have definitely hit the gas pedal in practice and made sure we are working to the levels we are in games. I think that made a change for sure.”

Over the last month, Summit has shown that it has viable leaders in Rivera and Arredondo as well as unspoken defensive leaders like seniors Kelley Duffy and Joselin Roque.

Arredondo the team members will use the chemistry they have gained over the last several years — and during the beginning of the season — to lead them throughout the remainder of the season.

“All of these seniors have been playing together since seventh grade,” Arredondo said. “We know how we play and we understand how we are as people. We are able to connect maybe a little bit better than other teams.”

Summit will face Palisade High School on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, at Summit High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

“I expect to see a win because we have worked so hard and I am a strong believer in deserving what you work hard for,” Arredondo said as she looked towards the match against Palisade. “I hope we play our game because I feel like sometimes we end up playing other people’s games.”

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