McCarthy, Hamilton lead SHS comeback win in Hoopla opener
FARMER’S KORNER – And then there were two.All season long, senior shooting guard Jordan McCarthy had struggled to find his rhythm, struggled to live up to his position on the floor. In his scoring absence, junior forward Clint Hamilton carried the Summit High School boys basketball team, leading the Tigers in scoring in each of their four games going into Thursday night’s contest with Platte Canyon. McCarthy found his shot – and even more importantly, his confidence – at just the right time. He scored a team-high 22 points and filled the go-to scorer’s role for most of the game, until Hamilton took over in the fourth quarter to lead the 4A Tigers to a 65-54 home win against the 3A Huskies.”Jordan could do that every night,” SHS Mike Rathgeber said. “When he has confidence and passion going for him, he’s an extraordinary player.”
McCarthy didn’t have as explicit an answer on why he suddenly became more aggressive. Usually more of a perimeter threat, he repeatedly drove to the basket Thursday night.”Before every game I tell myself I need to go (to the hoop), but I don’t know why I don’t,” he said. “Today I just did.”McCarthy scored 12 straight Summit points in the second quarter, when the Tigers (2-3) began a comeback that eventually erased an 11-point Platte lead. The run reversed a game that seemed destined to become a Huskies rout early on.Platte’s full-court press forced the Tigers into five first-quarter turnovers while the visitors opened up a 15-6 lead. The margin hovered around 10 for most of the second period.According to McCarthy, Summit’s players overlooked the underdog Huskies, who fell to 0-3 with the loss.
“Kids were laughing, joking around before the game,” he said.”I had my moments where I had doubt, because my young squad is not comfortable with being hunted,” said Rathgeber, who called his team’s play “lazy and unmotivated” in the first half. “They weren’t handling it well.”Summit took its first lead when Hamilton fed a streaking McCarthy for a layup with 1:48 to go in the third quarter. Platte reclaimed the advantage briefly in the fourth period, then Hamilton took over.The 6-foot-5 junior used his athleticism and desire – at one point he yelled, “Give it!” when a teammate wouldn’t feed him the ball – to dominate the low post, along with senior center Alex Shackleton. Hamilton didn’t start the game because he was late to a pregame meeting, but he finished with a flurry, scoring 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.He had 19 points and 13 boards in total, right at his 18.5-point average.
“Leaders have to step up,” Hamilton said after the game. “That’s what makes me a leader, I guess. And leaders want it at the end.”Shackleton finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in his best game since returning from an ankle injury, while junior forward Tucker Shelden chipped in nine points and eight boards, as well as his usual hustle.The Tigers return to the floor tonight for their second Holiday Hoopla tournament game, at 7 p.m. against 3A West Grand.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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