Individual basketball scoring averages can be deceiving.
LaCrosse-Washtucna/Kahlotus guard Austin Summers is a case in point.
Summers averaged just 3.1 points per game coming into Thursday’s State 1B boys basketball tournament. He scored 13 points and led the Tigercats to a 56-40 victory over Soap Lake assuring the school a top-five finish and its second state basketball trophy in school history.
While a trio of double figures scorers struggled early and finished below their season averages, Summers and Joey Guske took up the slack in the first half of their quarterfinal Thursday night in the Spokane Arena.
They accounted for 13 of the Tigercats’ 21 points and Summers kick-started a second-half explosion with a pair of 3-pointers that turned a two-point lead at intermission into a comfortable victory.
“I just focused on defense, and Coach always says defense leads to offense,” Summers said. “I just tried to help my teammates the best I could and this time they went down for me.”
Summers scored a 3-pointer and sank four free throws and Guske made three baskets pushing the Tigercats to a 20-10 lead.
But Soap Lake’s Jason Korneychuk scored nine points down the stretch to bring his team within a basket. He added another score in between Summers’ third-quarter bombs and finished the game with 24 of Soap Lake’s 40 – despite missing 7 of 11 from the free-throw line.
LWK’s Jed Zimmer averaged 13.9 points, Darcy Stamper 13.0 and Justin Wargo 10.7 coming into the game. Combined, they had scored three points in the first half, and all but four of their second-half total (18) came in the fourth quarter to pad the Tigercat’s 10-point lead after three.
They also got a big lift from Alec Fleming, a 5.6 season scorer who finished with 10.
“We have a different kid score every game,” coach Mike Jones said. “Austin Summers has come through in different games. We have three kids who have scored quite a bit, but they are getting a lot of those points because someone else is carrying the load.”
They don’t have a player who can score in bunches like Derek Isaak did for Almira/Coulee-Hartline’s state champions last year, Jones continued, so they score by committee.
“The slack had to be taken up and I got the chance,” Summers said. “It worked out.”
The Tigercats (20-5) meet a different kind of foe tonight at 9 p.m. in the semifinals. Neah Bay (19-2) plays at warp speed with little regard for life and limb.
In the first semifinal at 7:15, Pomeroy (20-6), in its first appearance at 1B, faces Sunnyside Christian (25-2) which is playing in their 15th straight tourney.