Wildcats hold off Summit Academy | ParkRecord.com

Wildcats hold off Summit Academy

Bracken Santos drives around a Summit Academy defender on Wednesday night in Kamas. Adam Spencer/The Park Record

It’s always nice to have a strong group of seniors on hand to step up and lead a basketball team to victory.

That’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night for the South Summit High School boys’ basketball team in a 72-58 win over Region 16 opponent Summit Academy.

After a third quarter in which the Wildcats were outscored 18-6 on their home court, cutting their lead to 47-44, South Summit seniors Beau Rydalch, Brad Richins and Steven Flinders decided they weren’t about to let Summit Academy pull off a come-from-behind victory.

Flinders banked in a three-pointer, Richins made a couple strong moves in the post and Rydalch did what he does best create matchup problems for the defense by hitting threes and also getting to the free-throw line.

Rydalch said he tried to atone for a terrible third quarter.

"My third quarter, I came out and I was bad," he said. "I got that foul and I only had one point. So I came out and I just thought, ‘I’ve got to pull it together and we’ve got to pull this out.’ I figured, if I’ve got a look, I’m going to take it. Fortunately, a couple went down for me."

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South Summit coach Dusty Hatch said it was only a matter of time before his seniors settled down and played the way they’re capable of playing.

"Somewhere along the line in a game, they manage to get their poise," he said. "They just relax and start to play. Brad had a couple nice plays, Steven banked in that three and Beau was just clutch. He had two three-pointers that I thought stretched the game out and pulled us away. That’s why you have senior guys. Hopefully they’ve been through all this before and they won’t get too rattled, they’ll just come out and play and that’s what they did."

"It’s great the past couple years we haven’t had that," Rydalch added. "With us three getting our experience since we were sophomores, I think it really helps us as far as our maturity and being able to step up and make those plays when we need them."

Rydalch finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds on the night. Richins had 10 points and eight rebounds and Flinders racked up 11 points, six boards, five assists and five steals.

Bracken Santos contributed 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, Jason Griffin had seven points and five boards, Ty Jones had four points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals and Victor Thornton chipped in two points and two rebounds in the victory.

Hatch highlighted the play of Jones, who he said brings an endless amount of energy off the bench.

"I was impressed with Jones and the way he missed a layup and he didn’t pout he turned around and stole the ball back and we got a basket out of it," he said. "That’s what I keep telling my guys play for the next possession, don’t worry about what just happened, play for the next one. I thought he did that. He brings grit, tenacity, he’s quick he’s a defender and he knows that. What a great thing for our team to have somebody like that who doesn’t really care about how many points he scores, he just wants to be in there and defend."

Rydalch said picking up a win against Summit Academy was a good way to prove this year’s South Summit squad is better than last year’s.

"Last year they came in here and beat us in the first [region] game," he said. "Now, we’ve got another big game at Gunnison. It’d be nice to go down there and get a win."

Next up for South Summit (10-4, 3-0 in Region 16) is a tough stretch against two of the better teams in Region 16 at Gunnison on Friday (after this issue went to press) and at home against in-county rival North Summit.

Hatch said the schedule isn’t doing the Wildcats any favors.

"Our region is tough," he said. "We don’t get a break. Every night is a dogfight in our region, which is good. Better that than the other way."