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Tiger boys win nailbiter at home

ADAM BOFFEY
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc
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FARMER’S KORNER – When Mike Rathgeber went to Summit High School’s boys basketball game against Alameda Friday night, he was on a quest: The Tigers’ head coach was looking for a hero.”I told the guys that we needed somebody to step up and be a hero tonight because we are a hurting group running on fumes,” Rathgeber said. The Tigers have gone 3-0 since a flu-bug infiltrated their team several days ago. Summit’s leading scorer, Clint Hamilton, as well as starters Jordan McCarthy and Tucker Shelden have all been recently hampered by illness.As it turned out, several of Rathgeber’s players answered his pre-game call. Led by a balanced offensive attack and clutch performances by Alex Shackleton, McCarthy and Joe Felton, the Tigers squeaked past Alameda 54-53.

Summit (8-11, 2-3 in the Jeffco 4A League) gained its biggest lead of the game midway through the second period, when it went up by eight points against the 5-14 Pirates. Backed by a host of 3-pointers and steals, the Pirates clawed their way back to a two-point deficit at halftime.Summit took a three-point lead into the game’s final minutes, during which Bob Schwander and McCarthy each hit key free throws for the Tigers. McCarthy’s two free throws came with 30 seconds to play and gave Summit a four-point lead. Alameda’s David Hawkins kept things interesting by completing a three-point play on the Pirates’ ensuing possession. When The Tigers attempted to inbound with 12 seconds left, they turned the ball over, relinquishing the game’s final possession to Alameda. Luckily for Summit, David Hawkins’ 3-point attempt rattled out of the basket as the final buzzer sounded.The Tigers were led by Shackleton, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds. “Someone has stepped up for us every game and tonight it was Alex,” Rathgeber said. One unlikely hero for Summit was seldom-used sophomore Joe Felton, who finished with a career-high nine points.

“Coach told us before the game it was a must-win, so to me it felt like a playoff game,” Felton said. “When I was in, I was trying to make it worth my while.”McCarthy, who iced decisive late-game free throws for Summit for the second consecutive game, finished with 11 points.”I knew I was going to make them so I didn’t feel too much pressure,” McCarthy said of his final shots of the game.Shelden was every bit the crafty point guard for the Tigers, dishing out seven assists and making five steals.

In light of his team’s overall lack of health, Rathgeber decided to give the Tigers the weekend off to recuperate. “To come out of this week 3-0 speaks volumes about our kids,” he said. “And that’s the first time we’ve ever beat Alameda (since I’ve been coaching here). We were 0-5 against them before tonight.”The Tigers travel to Elizabeth on Wednesday. Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at aboffey@summitdaily.com.


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