Summit boys can’t find their mojo on Huskies rivalry night, lose 47-57
FRISCO — Rivalry games haven’t been kind to Tigers basketball this season.
On Tuesday night, in front of an unusually light home crowd, the Summit High boy’s basketball team faced Battle Mountain for the second time this winter and lost, 47-57. It was the kind of game the Tigers should have (and could have) won, and it comes hot on the heels of another should-coulda rivalry game, a home loss to Eagle Valley on Jan 27. The Summit boys played their hearts out for two or three quarters in both games, but try as they might, both games ended nearly the same when the home team dug a fourth-quarter hole they couldn’t escape.
The Tigers get a rematch against the Devils in Gypsum on Feb. 14, but Tuesday’s game against Battle Mountain was the last of the season, and oh, how sweet it would have been to split the series with the Huskies — those most heated of league foes who are almost evenly matched with the Tigers.
The game was tight and tense for most of the first half, with players on both sides stepping up on defense and offense. Battle Mountain managed to edge Summit by two points in the first quarter, 12-10, and two more in the second, 24-22, but neither team looked better or worse than the other. One of Summit’s best support men, junior Mario Ramirez, stepped up with five points in the second, while the team’s leading three-point threats, junior Turner McDonald and sophomore Ilja Bubukin, had field goals and even a few layups when it mattered.
The third quarter got away from the Tigers — but only after the team took its first lead of the game. Junior Dimitri Preciado had a sweet drive for an even sweeter layup, drawing a foul for one-of-two penalty shots. Senior Andrew Shaw got the rebound and sunk the layup to knot things halfway through the quarter, 28-28. Summit pulled ahead by one basket, then another, but then penalties and lost rebounds caught up with the home team. The Huskies took advantage and pulled ahead to 35-41 with one quarter remaining.
Try as they might, but the Summit starting line couldn’t retake the lead. Battle Mountain stayed at least two baskets ahead as the clock tick-tick-ticked away, and that’s when frustration set in. The Tigers tried to stop momentum with fouls in the final two minutes, but when they couldn’t match free throws with field goals on the counter attack, it didn’t matter. The Huskies went five-for-14 on penalty chances — not exactly championship caliber — and it was all they needed to seal a 57-47 victory. After all, Summit went scoreless in the same span, and five points is always better than zero.
Now for a look at the big picture, rivalries and all. In terms of strict wins and losses, Summit isn’t even the worst of the I-70 rivals: the Tigers are 6-10 overall, while the Huskies are 7-11 overall and the Devils are 12-5. Eagle Valley is making a run for the 4A Western Slope league title with a 5-1 league record, which is good enough to put them on top of the league standings ahead of No. 2 Rifle and No. 3 Glenwood Springs with seven games remaining. Battle Mountain is middle of the road at 4-4 and Summit is scraping the bottom, 1-6 after the Tuesday loss, but again, there are seven games remaining. Try as they might, and things could turn around.
Summit’s next chance to avenge a string of rivalry losses comes Feb. 2 against 3A Buena Vista (7-4 overall) in BV. Tip-off is 7 p.m. The boy’s next home game is a must-win on Feb. 4 against Palisade (3-14 overall, 2-5 4A Slope). Tip-off then is 12:30 p.m.
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