Summit Tigers boys basketball edges Rifle 41-38 on road |

Summit Tigers boys basketball edges Rifle 41-38 on road

The Summit Tigers 2021 boys basketball team poses for a team photo earlier this season.
Photo from Mark Kimball

It was contrasting results for the Summit Tigers basketball teams in Rifle late Thursday, when the boys defeated the Bears, 41-38, while the girls lost, 42-28.

The boys game was the nightcap, and Tigers head coach Jordan Buller said the experience was a challenging one mentally as Summit had a three-hour bus ride before waiting three hours to play due to the JV girls basketball game going into overtime.

Once the Tiger boys took the court — after 9 p.m. — Buller said they came out flat, trailing 8-6 at the end of the first quarter. Summit outscored Rifle 11-6 in the second quarter to take a 17-14 halftime lead, and Buller said the team fought back and played their best basketball of the night after halftime.

The coach said Summit struggled early in the game to attack and convert good shot opportunities against a Rifle zone defense that was compact and prevented penetration. Finally in the fourth quarter, Summit started to succeed versus the zone thanks to penetration that then allowed senior sharpshooter Naz Poliuk (9 points) to connect on 3-pointers and stretch the zone.

“Any road conference win in this conference is a good win, especially us traveling three hours by bus and waiting three hours at the gym,” Buller said.

Senior captain forward Cam Kalaf was the Tigers’ leading scorer on the night with 10 points. Kalaf’s 3-of-4 showing at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter helped secure the win for Summit. Buller also credited senior captain wing Tyler Nakos for big-time drives in the third and fourth quarters that spurred some momentum for Summit. Buller also said senior captain point guard Hector Diaz played well down the stretch, adding seven points.

The Tigers (2-1) play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Battle Mountain and then travel to Palisade for a 6:15 p.m. game Feb. 12 before returning home to host Eagle Valley at 2:45 p.m. Feb. 13.

Tigers girls basketball falls to Bears, 42-28

Tigers head coach Kayle Walker-Burns said her team also came out flat Thursday night, including a one-point second quarter that capped a half where the offense struggled to get going.

The Bears led 35-13 through three quarters before Summit responded with a 15-7 margin in the fourth quarter, for which Walker-Burns commended them. Summit’s leading scorer was sophomore Autumn Rivera (9 points).

The Tigers girls also will travel to Battle Mountain for a 12:30 p.m. matchup Saturday and Palisade for a 4:30 p.m. game Feb. 12 before hosting Eagle Valley at 1 p.m. Feb. 13.

“With having such a young team, I know we will go through some growing pains, and the athletes are still trying to figure out their role on the team,” Walker-Burns said. “When it clicks, it’s great. We have had a lot of great moments. It’s just about having more of those great moments.”

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