Lady Hawks season ends in first round of playoffs against Juab
By Matt Harris
OREM—North Sanpete girls hoops unlikely playoff season ended in the first round at Orem High School.
The Lady Hawks fell to longtime rival Juab of Region 14, 41-24, as they struggled to find any form of offense from outside.
“Juab really packed the paint against us, which obviously worked,” Head Coach Taylor Christensen said. “Outside shooting was our biggest weakness. If we had some more outside shooting, we could have been a lot more successful this season.”
North Sanpete scored only seven field goals in the entire contest. Senior Tiffany Peckham led the flock with nine points. The Lady Hawks had many opportunities at the free throw line as well, shooting 9-17 from the line as a team.
Though a bad second quarter put the Lady Hawks down big at halftime, a solid third put wind in their sails. Senior Tierei Laupapa, a face not often seen for North Sanpete, gave a post presence that was missing in the first half. Laupapa scored five points, all of them in a 9-0 run that brought the Hawks within eight points.
North Sanpete got no closer as Juab’s Bayli Heap put the Wasps on her back and pushed against the Hawks’ defense for a plethora of fouls.
North Sanpete finished their season with a record of 4-18 overall, 3-9 in region.
“The main goal I set this season was to make basketball enjoyable for these girls,” Christensen said. “It’s hard when you aren’t having success to lose sight of the fact that this is a game, so I mainly just wanted the girls to enjoy their time playing basketball.”
North Sanpete played with little in the way of expectations this year, but made the most of it on the efforts of a hardworking senior class. The fruits of their labors were a playoff appearance and a season sweep in their rivalry with Manti.
“This season was such a great experience,” Christensen said. “I am extremely proud of each and every girl on this team. Each of them has grown so much as players and as people… I am so proud of these seniors; they came in and just worked. They set a great example for all of us.”
Seniors Peckham, Laupapa, Linzy Flinders, and Aubree Ison now depart from the program. Though the offseason will tell in the end, North Sanpete figures to be led by a very young core next year with soon-to-be junior Graciee Christiansen being the statistical leader among returning players.
For Coach Christensen, the goal remains to “continue to bring the fun back into basketball. Show kids how fun it is to work hard.”