Summit girls basketball will rely on seasoned talent in 2021-22 season |

Summit girls basketball will rely on seasoned talent in 2021-22 season

As fall athletic seasons come to an end across the state, the beginning of the winter sport seasons are quickly approaching, including girls basketball.

Summit High School head coach Kayle Walker Burns enters her eighth year as a coach for the Summit Tigers girls basketball team and her fifth season as the team’s head coach. Walker Burns is looking to improve upon a 3-11 record during the 2020-21 season, which was interrupted by COVID-19 contact tracing. The Tigers were also 2-8 in 4A Western Slope league play, where they finished fifth out of seven teams.

The Summit Tigers varsity squad last year was made up of one freshman, six sophomores, three juniors and two seniors on the 12-girl varsity roster. Entering the upcoming season, Walker Burns hopes to draw on more seasoned talent after having a young team last year.

“A couple returning players that really contributed a lot on varsity last year are Brina Babich, Kelley Duffy and Paola Arrendondo,” Walker Burns said. “Kelley and Paola are my one, two — my guards. They are fast and great on defense. All three of these girls had great seasons as sophomores last season and will look to have better seasons as juniors.”

Arrendondo, a 5-4 junior guard, will look to play the entire season this year after suffering an injury last season after the Glenwood Springs game Feb. 2.

In Arrendondo’s freshman campaign for the Tigers, when she was able to play a full season, she averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

Arrendondo is also coming off a fantastic rugby season, in which she played a key role in helping her team capture a 14th straight state title for the Summit Tigers girls rugby team.

“Paola is an amazing athlete,” Walker Burns said. “She loves basketball and sort of got robbed of a season last year, so we are excited to see what she can do this year.”

Another key piece for the Tigers this year will be leading scorer and rebounder Autumn Riviera. The 5-10 junior forward was a captain last year and led the team with 11.3 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game. Riviera will look to be a leading force for the Tigers.

“She’s a strong all-around player, a great scorer, a great rebounder,” Walker Burns said. “She is very universal.”

The Summit Tigers will also draw on the team’s three seniors in Callie Smith, Sarah Pappas and Emily Koetteritz. The trio will go into the season with lots of varsity experience and be able to really contribute to this year’s team.

In terms of what Walker Burns is looking forward to most in the 2021-22 season? Normalcy.

“Last year, we were the first team to play kind of during COVID times in masks,” Walker Burns said. “It will be nice for it to be … closer to normal. It will be good for these kids to play a full season as opposed to half a season like we did last year.”

Some of the girls have been prepping all summer in open gyms and on club teams in order to be prepared for the upcoming high school basketball season. A full season this year will allow the Tigers girls to put all their hard work on display and make their push toward a winning record.

Practice officially begins Nov. 15.

Tigers girls basketball schedule

• Nov. 30 vs. Buena Vista, 5:30 p.m.

• Dec. 7 at Middle Park, 5:30 p.m.

• Dec. 8 at Arrupe Jesuit, 5:30 p.m.

• Dec. 10 at Chatfield, 7 p.m.

• Dec. 17 at Alamosa, 8:30 p.m.

• Dec. 18 vs. Centauri, 10 a.m.

• Jan. 6 vs. Basalt, 5:30 p.m.

• Jan. 8 at Berthoud, 1 p.m.

• Jan. 11 at Glenwood Springs, 5:30 p.m.

• Jan. 13 at Eagle Valley, 5:30 p.m.

• Jan. 14 vs. Battle Mountain, 5:30 p.m.

• Jan. 21 vs. Palisade, 5:30 p.m.

• Jan. 22 vs. Rifle, 6 p.m.

• Jan. 28 vs. Steamboat Springs, 5:30 p.m.

• Feb. 1 vs. Glenwood Springs, 5:30 p.m.

• Feb. 2 at Steamboat Springs, 5:30 p.m.

• Feb. 4 at Battle Mountain, 5:30 p.m.

• Feb. 8 at Rifle, 6 p.m.

• Feb. 12 vs. Eagle Valley, 12:30 p.m.

• Feb. 15 at Palisade, 5:30 p.m.

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