Girls basketball teams rebuilding
after pretty tough outing last year
By James Tilson
Nov. 23, 2017
Snow in the air, temperatures dipping below freezing, and holiday music wafting through towns mean it’s time for basketball in Sanpete County.
The local girls’ high school teams are re-building for a new season after a pretty tough outing last year. None of the local schools had a winning record, and only two of the schools qualified for the state playoffs. However, a lot of underclassmen got valuable game experience, and the coaches are hopeful that experience translates into winning basketball this year.
With realignment putting Gunnison Valley into what girls basketball coach Melissa Sorenson called the “toughest region in (state) 2A,” the Lady Bulldogs will have to “battle every game” in order to secure a bid to the state playoffs at the end of the year.
Last year, the Lady Bulldogs were able to make the playoffs, with a 6-15 overall record, and 3-6 in their region. The Lady Bulldogs only lost one senior from that team, Jerusha Miner, but Sorenson called her the “energizer bunny” for the team and Sorenson is searching for the player who can replace Jerusha’s energy.
This year’s edition will have two seniors, Katelyn Anderson and Kaitlyn Wegener, who will be given the first shot at providing that spark for the team. But Coach Sorenson says that a talented class of six juniors, Taylor Brackett, Jaida King, Paige King, Sheridan Sorensen, Taryn Thompson, and Kezzley Winn are coming right behind the seniors and could wind up being the backbone of the team.
Gunnison Valley’s first game is on Nov. 21 at Manti High School at 7:00 pm.
Realignment also struck Manti High’s Lady Templars, putting them into class 3A for the first time this year. Coach Roger Watson says that their region is the hardest in 3A, and “it’s going to be a battle to see where we can finish.”
Last year was a “rough year” for the Lady Templars; injuries decimated the squad and hampered their ability to gain any continuity on the court. They finished 3-18 overall, and 2-8 in their region, which did not qualify them for the state playoff.
Three seniors graduated from last year’s squad, including key performer Jamie Bawden. However, injuries meant that many players got experience and will be stepping up this year. Watson’s squad has seven returning varsity players, including Avalin Cook (one of the walking wounded), last year’s leading scorer Auri Squire, Amie Squire, Kjerstin Birch, Ashton Wood and Kallie Young.
Manti’s first game is on Nov. 21 versus the Gunnison Valley Lady Bulldogs at 7:00 pm.
In the words of Coach Randi Griffith, the Lady hawks “had their moments” but also dealt with a lot of injuries that made the season difficult. Graduation hit hard for the North Sanpete squad, as four starts graduated – Angela Clayton, Breanne Tapia, Catherine Lund, andAbby Smith. Coach Griffith will have her hands full getting the squad up to speed in time for the new season.
The Lady Hawks have two players, senior Kesley Eliason and junior Tiffany Peckham, who have varsity basketball experience. The rest of her squad will be starting from scratch. But Coach Griffith is optimistic, “This team will have growing pains. But if they can stick together, they can bond over their adversity and turn into a good team.”
Last year’s squad finished the season 5-15 overall, and 1-5 in the region. Their first game will be on Nov. 29 versus Millard, at 7:00 pm.