Tigers lose to one of state’s best squads | SummitDaily.com

Tigers lose to one of state’s best squads

FARMER’S KORNER – The Summit High School boys basketball team may be down, but it certainly isn’t out – at least not yet. Despite losing to Ralston Valley 69-52 on Thursday and falling to 5-10 on the season, the Tigers’ coach remains confident that his team will reach the playoffs. “Tonight we showed that we’re developing and that we’re coming together,” Summit coach Mike Rathgeber said. “We showed we’re worthy of getting to the big dance.”Rathgeber went on to call Wednesday’s loss the Tigers’ best game of the season.”I’ve got absolutely no complaints about tonight whatsoever,” he said. “This (Ralston Valley) is the No. 2 team in the state.”The Mustangs improved to 13-3 with the victory.A large crowd turned out to encourage Summit to reverse its recent losing trend, and the Tigers were able to keep the game interesting throughout the first half. Summit was down by five points with two minutes remaining in the first quarter when senior Bob Schwander checked into the game. During his limited action, the reserve guard grabbed a key steal and scored four points for the Tigers, including a first-quarter buzzer beater that tied the game at 19.Clint Hamilton sank back-to-back layups for Summit midway through the second quarter to break the team’s four-minute scoring drought. Hamilton’s buckets gave the Tigers their final lead of the game at 28-27. The junior standout also blocked a shot beneath the Mustangs’ basket, which electrified the crowd prior to halftime.Summit began to run out of gas in the third quarter as Ralston Valley severely outrebounded the Tigers and stole the ball from them six times. The Mustangs carried a seven-point advantage into the fourth quarter, before going on a 22-12 run to close out the game.”In order to win, we needed to do everything well,” Hamilton said after leading the Tigers with 18 points. “They imposed their will in the third quarter.”Junior Tucker Shelden, who finished with a career-high 14 points, elaborated on Hamilton’s second-half assessment.”We let them run on us in the third and fourth quarters,” Shelden said. “They got a bunch of fast-break baskets and then they shot the lights out.” The Tigers, conversely, did not shoot well from the perimeter, burying just one of eight 3-point attempts.”That’s one of our killers, our 3-ball,” Shelden said. “Right now, we have no outside threat. We need someone to step up and make some 3’s.”Summit is currently ranked last in 3-point shooting among 4A Jeffco League teams with a shooting percentage of just 23.1.”It’s been our Achilles’ heel all year,” Rathgeber said. “We desperately need to get that going by the time February rolls around.”Another statistic that proved fatal for Rathgeber’s squad was their 15 turnovers.”The turnovers are classic young-team mistakes,” he said. “The only thing that cures that is playing. It’s hard to watch at times, but I have to remind myself it’s what young, developing teams do.”The Tigers have nine more games, giving them ample time to determine their postseason fate.In Rathgeber’s estimation, Summit will need at least three or four more victories to qualify for the postseason. The Tigers return to action on Friday when they host D’Evelyn at 7 p.m.Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at aboffey@summitdaily.com.

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