Lady Hawks turn performance around, now winning games
By Rhett Wilkinson
Talk about an about-face.
After starting the season 1-11, the North Sanpete girls’ basketball team changed gears, winning both of their games last week, 43-38 and 48-42 over Maeser Prep and American Leadership academies.
The Lady Hawks (3-11, 3-6 Region 14) raced out to a 37-12 crushing of Maeser Prep (2-14, 0-9) after three quarters before holding on.
“As much as we would have liked to blow them out, I think we learned a lot from it becoming so close,” North Sanpete Coach Taylor Christensen said. “Overall, I thought it was a really good learning experience for our team.”
Kortley Cook and Tylee Henrie led the Lady Hawks with 16 and 10 points, respectively. But Christensen didn’t talk about their points.
“Kortley and Tylee are always good for us, whether they put points up or not,” Christensen said. “Kortley is a great point guard for us that plays with great tempo and pace. And Tylee is a work horse that gets a bunch of offensive rebounds and does a lot of the dirty work that a lot of people aren’t willing to do.”
Each Lady Hawk played, including freshmen Jessica Applegarth and Adelay Stravros, who both scored.
“Jessica and Adelay came in and played really well,” Christensen said. “It’s nice to have such a young team we are able to get our freshman some varsity minutes. And they do really well!”
Applegarth scored her first career points, according to Christensen.
“Great for her,” Christensen said. “She played really well.”
“The game against Maeser was a good chance for our young team to gain some confidence,” Christensen said. “I thought they all played really well.”
Against ALA (5-9, 2-7), the Eagles cut North Sanpete’s 27-18 halftime lead to 32-30 by late in the third quarter with a 12-5 run.
Despite having a lot of confidence at halftime, the Lady Hawks knew there would be some adjustments. They weren’t ready for a “very strange box-and-one,” defensive scheme that took away 15-point scorer Eryn Briggs, Christensen said.
“It threw us off for a couple of possessions,” she said.
But North Sanpete was able to hold ALA off.
“Our girls fought and found a way to continue scoring and getting stops,” Christensen said. “I thought our entire team played well, but Kortley really thrived in this situation. I really proud of her poise and her effort all game long.”
Cook indeed thrived, scoring 19 points, a career-high, Christensen said.
“A lot of things are ahead for her,” she said.
Christensen also made timely timeouts as the Eagles threatened, including when they made it 32-30.
“I’m not sure if timeouts did play a factor, but with a young team, it’s important to find times to give them a little pep talk,” she said. “Fortunately for us, it worked!”
Christensen pointed out that Briggs got going early before hitting some big free throws down the stretch.
“She always gives our team a calming presence as well,” Christensen said.
Henrie also scored 11 points. Christensen noted that she forces many jump balls and steals.
“It is hard to ever find a time to take her out of the game, which is a compliment in and of itself,” Christensen said.
The Lady Hawks lost a close game to the Eagles on Jan. 5, 52-43. Coming out of the game, North Sanpete knew they would have another shot at ALA.
“We were ready,” Christensen said. “This game was a great confidence builder and hopefully it can translate into this week’s games.”
This week, the Lady Hawks faced Union (10-7, 6-2) Tuesday at home and will be at Juab (5-12, 4-4) Thursday.