Touted Golden too deep for feisty Lady Tigers
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
GOLDEN ” For one half, Golden’s 34-game Jeffco League winning streak appeared in jeopardy. Demons head coach Jeff Neal, who coached the Summit High Tigers for two years before taking the Golden job last spring, said he felt nervous, like his old squad might be on its way to an upset heard round the state.
Then Golden’s unmatched depth took over, and the visiting Tigers could not keep up with their opponents’ press. Golden went on a 27-8 run in the third quarter that broke a close game wide open, and Summit ended up losing 69-48 to the No. 2-ranked Demons.
“But we played extremely well,” said SHS coach Dylan Hollingsworth, who took over at Summit when Neal left. “I haven’t been as happy with the girls all season as I was tonight, with the effort that they gave. They kept it close the entire first half.”
Summit missed seven free throws in those first two quarters, otherwise the deficit could have been much smaller than 28-20. Even with the state’s leading scorer on the sidelines, however ” Cassie Lambrecht tore her ACL on Friday ” Golden was able to pull away from the hungry Tigers after the break.
“They’re legitimately seven or eight deep and that makes them extremely tough to play,” Hollingsworth said.
His team’s inspired effort ” “some of the girls felt like they had something to prove,” Hollingsworth said ” didn’t go unnoticed by its former head coach.
Neal, who said the entire night “was hard for me,” went home proud of what he saw from his old squad. Part of that impression resulted from the relief he felt upon winning, after the first half threw a scare into him and the rest of his team.
“I told Dylan after the game, I could not be more impressed with how hard Summit played and just the passion they played with the entire game,” said Neal, who twice took the Tigers to the state tournament in his time at SHS. “I thought their kids played harder than our kids tonight.
“Sometimes games are tight in the first half but you feel like you’re going to blow them out in the second half,” he added. “I never felt that way tonight.”
Senior Whitney Degerberg led the Tigers with 14 points, a season high, and Mallory Ives contributed 12 as well as some inspired play on defense. Lynlee Holloway made it three SHS seniors in double figures with 10 points, while Alyssa Tallmadge added eight.
“Our goal was win or lose, to leave our mark; we did that. Without question we left our mark,” Hollingsworth said, adding that he has “a ton of respect for Jeff.”
Samantha Neal, who led the Tigers in scoring last year before transferring to Golden along with her dad, scored seven points Tuesday, five below her average.
Golden improved to 19-3 overall, and 8-0 in Jeffco games. The Demons have won 11 straight games, the past eight by 20 points or more.
Summit, meanwhile, dropped to 8-12 (5-3 Jeffco) with only its second loss in seven games. The Tigers have one more chance to impress the state tournament selection committee, at Evergreen (14-7, 6-2 Jeffco) on Thursday night.
“I feel good about it,” Hollingsworth said of his team’s hopes at a postseason berth, “but a good showing at Evergreen would help our cause.”
Devon O’Neil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (970) 668-4633.
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