A. Neal’s 18 leads Lady Tigers past Englewood
FARMER’S KORNER – Amanda Neal is back.She hadn’t been missing, but she hadn’t been herself, either – until Friday.The junior forward – who was a double-double machine last year as a sophomore while earning first team all-Jeffco honors – scored a season-high 18 points Friday night to lead the eighth-ranked Summit High School girls basketball team to its 10th win, 62-52 over Englewood. The victory, which came in Summit’s fourth game in the Jeffco-Skyline Challenge, improved the Tigers’ record to 10-3. Englewood dropped to 4-9.
“I had to get my confidence going again,” Neal said. “I hadn’t had a good game yet, so it was good to finally get some points and finish some shots.”Neal underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason and had struggled to regain her form in the low post on offense. She noticed she’d been trying to shoot over her opponents instead of going hard toward the basket, though, and worked on it this week in practice.The technique showed. Along with guards Cissy Daniels (17 points) and Samantha Neal (14 points), Amanda dominated the visiting Pirates in the early going. Summit scored an incredible 46 points in the first half (23 in each quarter), and took a 17-point lead into the break. Amanda Neal poured in 14 of her 18 to lead the way.The inside presence couldn’t have come at a better time for Summit, because, coach Jeff Neal noted, “Teams are starting to understand that we’re all guards, and they’re moving their defense a little bit farther away from the basket.”
Summit’s sixth win in seven games didn’t come without a price, however. Star senior captain Shannon Buhler reinjured the shoulder she had operated on over the offseason, and left the game midway through the fourth quarter. Tigers athletic trainer Drew Chambers said Buhler could be out for up to a month due to the dislocation, pending further evaluation. Buhler said she hopes to be back by Friday, when Summit hosts Ralston Valley in the league opener.Either way, Jeff Neal said, “She’s working so hard her senior year, it makes me sick that she got hurt.”Before she got hurt, Buhler helped Summit force eight first-quarter turnovers by the Pirates, and 24 in the game. The Tigers’ bread-and-butter pressure defense led to a number of fast-break opportunities, as well as plenty of open looks from beyond the arc.
Samantha Neal, the state’s leading 3-point shooter, knocked down four treys in the game, while Daniels added two.Summit wraps up play in the Jeffco-Skyline Challenge today at Skyview, likely against No. 9 D’Evelyn.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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