Battle of the cats: Panthers down Summit Tigers, 77-16
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The Lady Tigers basketball team came out strong Saturday against Delta, the Western Slope’s top-ranked team, but the momentum wasn’t enough to land a victory.
Instead, Summit lost steam after its 9-8 first quarter lead, letting Delta go on a five-point streak from which the Panthers never looked back.
Shutting down Delta’s Skylyn Webb proved problematic, as she tallied 30 points of the team’s 77-16 victory. But the Tigers defense wasn’t just about closing Webb down. It was also stopping its other three powerhouses, who together scored another 30-some points of the team’s total.
Steals, fouls drawn, rebounds, unforced turnovers – Delta brought it all to the Tigers home court, where Summit was plagued with turnovers and forced to take shots without integrity.
For Delta head coach Matt Hamm, the performance was better than the team’s Friday night 47-41 win over Rifle, but the team still isn’t up to par in his playbook.
“We wanted to come in and play hard,” Hamm said, adding that the Rifle game was a hard-fought win for his Lady Panthers. “We have a pretty athletic team, so we were able to come through and win it.”
The team also has height – the Panthers stood about an inch or two taller than the Tigers – but they primarily relied on strong defense to produce a win.
“If we play really good defense, that leads to a lot of layups for us, and that gives us a lot of points,” Hamm said. “There were stretches of the game where we played pretty good ‘D.’ We got some good steals and that leads to good stuff on offense. We did a good job shooting from outside tonight, which we don’t normally, so that was good. It’s something we’re working on.”
Meanwhile, Tigers’ leading scorers Kayce Chaparas, Alex Benes and Sam Salquist were held to single digits all day long, finishing with 5, 4 and 3 points, respectively.
“We quit moving around … and they were getting to many second-chance shots,” Summit head coach Dylan Hollingsworth said. “We’re still working on boxing out and limiting the other team’s turnovers while creating opportunities for us to get more than one shot each possession.
“We have to create opportunities for ourselves,” he added. “We had way too much standing around. We’re waiting for someone else to do something as opposed to running through what we’re supposed to be doing. They always need to be moving.”
The intensity early on was a bright spot for the coach, as well as the defensive power of Benes, Bailey Thompson and Lily Weldon.
“We fought really hard in the first half, defensively in particular,” Hollingsworth said.
Saturday’s junior varsity game following the varsity match was neck-and-neck and came down to the wire.
At the half, the team comprised of mostly freshmen was down by just two points, 16-18. And as the game wound down, the energy wound up, with Summit up by one with 1 minute, 40 seconds left in the game.
The Tigers gave up a basket and fouled Delta twice in a row, whose players sunk all four free throws.
Summit responded with a basket to bring the deficit back up to two, but was unable to do much to convert as the clocked ticked toward zero.
The team has lost just two games all year, both by a couple of points.
The junior varsity team has been facing off against mostly sophomores and juniors. It’s exactly what Hollingsworth has been waiting for: a competitive set of freshmen coming up through the ranks.
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