Summit-Santa Monica game story

Not sure if this edition will run in the actual paper, so here it is.

SANTA ANA – Summit was able to overcome Santa Monica’s first second-half charge in their CIF-SS Division 1-A championship game matchup Thursday at Mater Dei High School. The second was a different story.

The No. 2-seeded Vikings were able to advantage of fourth-quarter shooting struggles by the No. 4-seeded SkyHawks, moving out to an 69-63 victory.

Summit (26-6) overall went cold in the fourth quarter after using a 12-4 run at the end of the third period to move with three points, only making one basket from the field in the first 5:38 of the period. That helped Santa Monica slowly salt away the championship and avenge an early-season loss to Summit, as the SkyHawks lost in the CIF title game for the second time in three years.

“It’s disappointing because we were the underdog and we wanted to come out here that we could play with them and beat them,” Summit interim coach LaTrina Duncan said. “We played hard, but it wasn’t our night.”

Ashley Weissman was the only Summit player who could get anything going from the field in the fourth, hitting all five of the SkyHawks’ shots from the field in the period. Weissman drained three 3-pointers and hit two other shots from the field in the fourth, bringing Summit within four points at 67-63 with 18.7 seconds left after a runner. Weissman led all scorers with 23 points, hitting five 3-pointers in all.

“Once the first couple started going in I felt some confidence,” Weissman said. “I knew that we needed to get going.”

Summit couldn’t find a way to get ahead of the Vikings, trailing Santa Monica from the last second of the first period on, as Bianka Baltizar hit two free throws at the end of the first quarter to give the Vikings an 18-16 lead.

In looking back, the SkyHawks are going to regret not taking advantage of their opportunities from the free-throw line. Summit drove to the basket aggressively and got to the foul line often, shooting 14 free throws to Santa Monica’s seven in the first. But the SkyHawks couldn’t find their range, only hitting 58 percent (8-of-14). The foul-line struggles continued in the second half, as Summit only made two of six from the line. Meanwhile, Santa Monica knocked down 19 of 24 foul shots.

“We lost by six points and I know we missed more than six free throws,” Duncan said. “Free throws are always a big factor and if you don’t make them, they can come back to hurt you. We just didn’t make the most of our opportunities.”

Summit’s aggressiveness did come through handy at times though, as it used late runs in the second and third quarter to stay within arm’s length of the Vikings. Summit scored 12 of the last 17 points of the first half to go down 40-37 at halftime, with point guard Adrienne Thomas hitting a runner in the lane as the halftime buzzer sounded. Thomas scored all 12 of her points in the first half.

Summit also was able to withstand an 8-0 Santa Monica burst to start the third quarter. Moriah Faulk, who scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the third quarter, scored six points in a row to give the Vikings a 48-37 lead.

“We came in (to the second half) playing from behind and that’s not a good place to be,” Weissman said. “I think we lost our composure a little bit and it took us a while to get it back. Once we did I thought we played pretty good.”

But Summit countered with a 12-4 run of its own to move within 52-49 going into the fourth period. Weissman drained two 3-pointers down the stretch in the third period and Maiya Michel made a putback to give Summit the late-third quarter lift.

Michel and Brooklynn Jackson were both effective on the boards for Summit, with Jackson pulling down 11 rebounds along with eight points while Michel had seven points and 10 points.