Tiger boys guaranteed a winning mark
FARMER’S KORNER When all-league swingman Clint Hamilton decided to transfer to Texas for his senior season, the Summit High School boys basketball team dropped from third in a preseason poll of the Jeffco League’s coaches, to 10th in a later poll.Tenth, as in last.Which is about all you need to qualify how unexpected it was that the Tigers won their 12th game on Monday, guaranteeing them a winning regular-season record.Led by Joe Felton’s monster game (28 points and 14 rebounds), Summit held off a brief upset bid from hapless Jefferson before pulling away to win 68-47.The Tigers (12-7 overall, 2-3 in the Jeffco League) can further help their postseason standing by winning at least two of their final four games, three of which are against teams with losing records. If SHS managed to enter the postseason at 14-9, coach Mike Rathgeber said, the Tigers would likely receive a seed in the upper half of the 4A bracket, an advantage they haven’t enjoyed in his six-year tenure as coach.”Who would’ve thought that? Nobody did,” Rathgeber said. “When Clint left, nobody had any faith that we would do anything. They didn’t even have us beating Englewood and Jefferson; they didn’t have us beating anybody.”Nevertheless, the Tigers’ home win Monday night was the second time they’d beaten the pesky Saints (3-15, 0-5) this season. Not that it came easy, as Jefferson twice took the lead in the third quarter after a complacent first-half effort from the hosts allowed the visitors to hang around.At halftime, however, Felton informed his team that he wasn’t about to let them lose, Rathgeber recalled.”We just broke it open with the 3-ball,” the coach said. “Once that happened, Jefferson just quit.”Senior shooting guard Sean Linfield regained his outside touch by going 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, good for all 15 of his points, and senior point guard Tucker Shelden fought through what Rathgeber called “an off night” but still managed 19 points.The Tigers play at Alameda tonight before hosting rival Elizabeth on Friday.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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