Bears fall to 0-3 with loss to Tigers
FARMER’S KORNER – One down, three to go.Behind leading scorer Clint Hamilton and its strongest supporting cast of the season, the Summit High School boys basketball team broke into the win column Tuesday night at home, defeating Rifle handily, 52-31. The victory kicked off what the Tigers hope will become a four-win week, as Summit (1-3) begins play in its Holiday Hoopla tournament Thursday night and also plays games Friday and Saturday. All three of 4A Summit’s games are against 3A opponents.”We’re bound and determined to leave for Christmas at 4-3,” SHS coach Mike Rathgeber said. “That’s our primary goal. It’s the only thing we talk about and the only thing we work toward.”Hamilton scored 16 points to pace Summit for the fourth time in four games, but the Tigers also got 11 points from senior center Alex Shackleton and 10 apiece from senior Jordan McCarthy and junior Tucker Shelden. It made for by far the most balanced offensive attack Summit has mounted this season.”We’re all starting to step up, starting to learn how to make plays instead of leaving it all on him,” McCarthy said of Hamilton, who is averaging 18.5 points per game. “Because if it’s just him, we’re not going to win.”Equally as important as the Tigers’ balanced scoring was their defensive effectiveness, particularly on star Rifle guard Stuart Stapleton. The senior outside threat scored 13 points, but he struggled to get open against Summit’s numerous defensive looks.”They did a really nice job of switching all the screens, switching the cuts,” Bears coach Chris Lowther said. “It didn’t matter to them who was on him – they didn’t necessarily put one guy right on him, but they did a great job of switching things.”The loss drops Rifle to 0-3, the same position Summit was in before Tuesday’s win. Still, Lowther isn’t panicking.”You can’t say anything after three games, if you’re 3-0 or 0-3,” said the coach, whose team beat Summit by 21 in last year’s meeting. “I think it’s way too early to say anything no matter what our record is. We’re going to go back to work and keep trying to get better.”Mitch Kosht chipped in six points for the Bears, and Zach Whitmore added five.For Summit, the thoughts now have turned from dealing with disaster to, believe it or not, making the postseason.”If we’re 4-3 by Christmas break, we’re only one game off last year’s pace,” Rathgeber said, referring to the SHS team that made the state tournament. “Being one game off the pace in a rebuilding year? We’ll take it.”McCarthy added, “If we wouldn’t have gotten this win, it would’ve been very hard to get in the playoffs.”
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Facing the loss of five crucial games down the stretch due to COVID-19 quarantine rules, the Glenwood Springs girls basketball team’s postseason fate looked uncertain and totally out of the team’s control.