Lady Tigers end regular season with win at home
FARMER’S KORNER – Those within the locker room might have been the only ones who thought this was possible.Behind a season-best performance from junior point guard Cissy Daniels, the Summit High School girls basketball team completed a surprising 16-7 regular season with a convincing home win over Englewood on Thursday night, 56-43.In doing so the Tigers perhaps gave their backbone, senior guard Shannon Buhler, one more shot at playing in front of the home crowd. Summit learns its postseason fate when the 4A state tournament seeds are announced on Sunday, and the Tigers appear to have a good chance at hosting a first-round game.”I’m thrilled with where we are,” first-year SHS head coach Jeff Neal said. “I told the girls privately before the season that winning two out of every three games was my goal for the first year. We’ve exceeded that a little bit at this point.”
Buhler, who scored 12 points to go along with five steals and four rebounds before leaving to a standing ovation in the fourth quarter, was equally nonchalant about the Tigers’ win total, which included a 6-3 mark in the Jeffco League.”I wasn’t that surprised, because I knew that we had the potential to be at the top of this league,” she said. “In order to do that, everyone had to step up, and that’s what everyone did this season.”Summit had beaten Englewood (8-15, 3-6) by 10 points last month, so Thursday’s win was not unexpected. Still, the Tigers had to overcome dismal 3-point shooting to win for the sixth time in seven games. Summit shot just 3-of-16 from beyond the arc.Daniels was the biggest exception, hitting a barrage of shots from the field on her way to 23 points and seven rebounds.
“She’s really come on in the second half of the season,” Neal said. “She just played a terrific all-around game. I think this was her best game of the season.”Summit won as much with defense as it did with offense, pressuring the Pirates into 11 first-half turnovers, 17 in the game. The Tigers led 27-21 at the half, and although Englewood cut it to 34-30 late in the third quarter, Daniels and company pulled away over the final 10 minutes.Sophomore Emily George had a career night on the glass, finishing with 14 rebounds, and Amanda Neal chipped in with seven points and six boards. Summit won despite the fact that its leading scorer, freshman guard Samantha Neal, made just 1-of-8 3-point attempts and scored six points while suffering from the flu. Neal came in as the top 3-point shooter in the state’s 4A class.The most touching moment of the night arrived when Buhler left the floor with 1:45 remaining. Parents and students alike stood and cheered one of the toughest players – boy or girl – to play at Summit in recent years.
“She’s really meant everything to us,” Jeff Neal said. “She’s a hard-nosed defender, she hits big shots when we need it, makes the big steals, the free throws. And she’s the one pushing the girls to work harder in practice and games. She’s truly what a leader is all about.”Summit finished third in the league, behind only unbeaten Golden and 7-2 Elizabeth. The Tigers beat Elizabeth on the road by 25 points earlier this year.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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