LONGMONT — The first six days of the 2017-18 basketball season have not gone according to plan for the Peak to Peak boys.
Coming into the season, the Pumas were excited about a group that would feature a strong returning senior class and several talented newcomers and figured to improve on both last year's 10-12 record and bottom-half finish in the 3A Metro League. But after falling 69-54 to Summit in the first round of the Falcon Challenge tournament at Skyline High School on Wednesday and dropping to 0-3 on the young season, the Pumas find themselves searching for answers they already thought they had.
"We have to find out who we are as a team," Pumas head coach Matthew Smith said. "We have to understand that basketball requires intelligence and ability, and until we can figure that out, we're going to continue to lose by 15, 20, 30 points. Until we can understand that there's a certain way to play basketball, it's going to be a long season until we figure that out."
The Pumas trailed by just three points after the first quarter on Wednesday. But in the second quarter, the Summit shooters caught fire for five 3-pointers and the Tigers outscored the Pumas 30-11 for a 23-point halftime lead. Leading the long-range barrage, Summit's Wyatt Buller scored a game-high 18 points entirely on six 3-pointers.
Junior Isaac Van Tol led the Pumas, who have averaged 66.3 points a game and lost their first two by five or fewer, with 14 points. But allowing an average of 74 points a game so far, the Pumas struggled on defense yet again to open the Falcon Challenge.
"I would say we have more talent than the vast majority of teams in 3A," Smith said. "We have an unbelievable amount of talent. We've got everything we need and we're more than able. But until they all get together, it's just going to continue to be more of this.
"We need to get this figured out before we get to Metro. All of this preseason, all of this nonconference stuff, I don't care about any of it. For us to be successful in Metro, we need to figure out that defense comes first, and we need to figured that out now. If you don't play defense, you're going to get destroyed. Right now, we're in that getting destroyed mode."
The Pumas will get ineligible team-leader Jack Baker back on Saturday. Before then, they will play the loser of Wednesday's late game between Skyline and Denver North in the Falcon Challenge consolation semifinals on Friday.
Summit 69, Peak to Peak 54
At Skyline H.S.
McDonald 4 2-2 10, Preciado 5 4-7 13, Valdez 0 0-0 0, Rios 0 0-0 0, Allen 3 0-0 6, Collins 2 0-0 4, Ryckman 0 0-0 0, Jacobs 4 0-0 11, Buller 6 0-0 18, Lucia 0 2-2 2, Ramirez 2 1-2 5. Totals 26 9-13 69.
PEAK TO PEAK (0-3)
Batra 1 1-3 2, Higdon 0 5-6 5, Deniro 3 0-0 9, Van Tol 6 2-3 14, Eaves 2 2-2 6, Thorpe 1 0-0 2, Wilson 2 0-0 4, Fangman 1 0-2 2, Shriver 2 0-0 6, Feddema 1 0-1 2, Hall 0 1-2 1. Totals 19 11-19 54.
Score by quarters:Summit 17 30 14 8—69
Peak to Peak 13 11 15 15—54
3-point field goals — Summit (10): Buller 6, Jacobs 3, Preciado; Peak to Peak (5): Deniro 3, Shriver 2. Total fouls — Summit 14, Peak to Peak 17.