All-senior starting lineup leads state charge
FARMER’S KORNER – A six-year basketball journey is nearing an end for five friends. They hope to prolong the ride as long as possible.Kylor Dossett, Aaron George, Mike Holloway, Garrison Green and Ben Clark make up the all-senior starting lineup of Summit High School’s boys team. They’ve played together as a quintet since seventh grade, and enter the 4A state tournament this weekend as a No. 9 seed.The Tigers will play No. 8 Liberty tonight at Harrison High School in Colorado Springs, and a matchup with top-seeded Harrison would follow on Saturday should Summit win.Bonds run deep for this group of starters, both on and off the court. The chemistry they’ve built over the years has played a large role in their achievements this winter in the parity-riddled 4A class. Summit finished the regular season 12-11, but beat some of the state’s best teams along the way to become the first SHS boys hoops team to make the state tournament in 16 years.
“Chemistry is everything, and they have it,” Summit coach Mike Rathgeber said on Wednesday. “Experience is everything, and they have it. Talent is everything, and they have it … I can’t do it for them, but they so much deserve some success this weekend. I sit up at night this week and make deals with God: Please give them what they deserve.”The quintet of starters began their journey with an undefeated season as seventh-graders at Summit Middle School. They flashed their potential right away, shutting out multiple teams (really), and beating Minturn 73-4 in one of their most memorable games together. The only four points they gave up that night came on shots hit by a Minturn player with Downs syndrome. Summit’s players gave the player the ball and let him hit two shots, unimpeded.Dossett, Green, George, Holloway and Clark played nearly every minute of every game that season, with their only other teammate – a sixth-grader – getting two minutes in a game when Green arrived late, as the story goes.They followed that year with an equally memorable eighth-grade season, when Dossett’s father, Jim, was their coach. “We definitely know each other’s tendencies,” Clark said as the other four surrounded him on Wednesday. “When you play with somebody that long, you have an idea of what they’re going to do, and then you can just react. Just by eye contact, you can know what’s going to happen.”
“It helps on D, too,” Dossett added. “You know that if somebody beats you, you’ll have help from four other people. It makes it a lot easier.”The five complementary players have scored 86 percent of Summit’s 1,347 points going into tonight’s game with Liberty. Dossett, who has emerged as a star this season, leads the way with 14.4 points per game.Although Holloway and Dossett are co-captains by title, all five chip in to the leadership of the SHS team – “leadership by committe,” Rathgeber called it.For their third-year head coach, the biggest giveaway that this isn’t your average starting five comes on offense. “It’s always that extra pass that I didn’t see but they knew was coming,” Rathgeber said. “I didn’t see that cut coming; I thought that was the play, but there’s one more pass.”Despite all that this group “deserves,” though, Rathgeber cautions the believers because of the parity that exists this year in Colorado’s 4A class.
Another year, Summit’s talent, experience and chemistry almost surely would’ve translated to a better record than 12-11. This year is different.”As proud as we are of these kids,” Rathgeber said, “and as much as we think they deserve success, everybody else is out there with talent thinking the same thing.”Summit tips with Liberty tonight at 6:50 p.m. Saturday’s game with Harrison would be at 8 p.m. if the Tigers win.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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