Tigers drop heartbreaker in season opener
THORNTON – Summit High School shooters missed four free throws in the final minute and a half, and the Tigers boys basketball team lost a five-point lead to Skyview to drop its season opener in devastating fashion on the road Wednesday, 54-53.The Tigers fought back from 11 points down in the second half before taking the lead, but their uncharacteristic woes at the line doomed them. All four free-throw misses came on the front end of one-and-ones.”This was a heartbreaker,” said SHS coach Mike Rathgeber. “We just went mental. The thing that completely shocked me is, this team has never not made their free throws.”Still, down by the eventual final margin with under 10 seconds to go, senior guard Kylor Dossett stole a pass and the Tigers had life. But Dossett, normally as sure-handed as they come, subsequently made an errant pass to turn it over and seal the defeat. It was Summit’s 21st turnover of the game.Senior center Mike Holloway scored 18 to lead the Tigers, and sophomore Clint Hamilton chipped in with 11, all in the first half. Hamilton likely would’ve made a difference in the second half, but an ankle injury tightened up and he had to watch from the sidelines.Dossett finished with 10 points and 6-foot-6 forward Garrison Green poured in eight, including two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter after Skyview had all but taken away Summit’s inside game.The Wolverines (1-0) shot an incredible 90 percent from the field to take a 37-28 lead at the half, before Rathgeber employed a man-zone defense he called “freaky” to shake their momentum in the second half.”I’ve never seen anything like it,” Rathgeber said of Skyview’s first-half marksmanship. “They shot the lights out.”Although the Tigers had aimed to run the table in December, their disappointment on Wednesday was an early and unexpected wakeup call. They took it hard.”I never saw so many tears for a first game,” said Rathgeber, Summit’s third-year coach. “The kids were devastated.”The Tigers will get a chance to rebound on Saturday at Moffat County before opening their season at home Tuesday night against Lake County.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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