Lady Hawks victory over Maeser Prep. is first win of the season
By Rhett Wilkinson
They’re “high school girls.”
That was part of Taylor Christensen’s reasons for why her North Sanpete girls’ basketball team did not play the full game against South Summit, nor beat Duchesne last week.
The Lady Hawks (1-6, 1-1 Region 14) did defeat Maeser Prep Academy for their first win of the season. Then, at the Central Utah Preview in Richfield, they lost against those opponents. North Sanpete also fell at Manti last week.
The Lady Hawks’ win over Maeser Prep (2-4, 0-2) was a 39-14 victory Thursday, Dec. 17 in Mt. Pleasant. Kortley Cook, Eryn Briggs, Melissa Murillo, Tylee Henrie and Emily Strait scored 10 points, nine, seven, six and five points, respectively, for North Sanpete. Kortley Cook created a couple of one-girl fast breaks.
“It was good. I think the first half, we came out and played really well,” Christensen said. “I think these girls just need to learn kind of how to … play a full game. The second half, we didn’t come out as … aggressive, which is kind of unfortunate.”
The Lady Hawks displayed great ball movement in the game against a 2-3 zone.
“We did move the ball really well and got it into the middle and had a bunch of options after that,” Christensen said.
Christensen was complimentary of Kortley Cook and Briggs.
“It’s nice to have someone quick who can get out into the passing lanes,” Christensen said of Kortley Cook. “And Eryn was strong for us. She is a good 3-point shooter.”
The game saw the varsity debut of freshman Ashlyn Anderson, who played in the subsequent games against South Summit and Duchesne.
“Defensively, she’s really tough and then offensively, she’s just there; she cuts really hard,” Christensen said. “She’s a good little freshman for us.”
While North Sanpete lost to 62-32 Friday morning, Dec. 18 to South Summit (3-6), the Lady Hawks actually outscored the Wildcats 21-19 in the second half. Overall, Henrie and Kortley Cook led the way with 12 and nine points, respectively. Henrie also grabbed 11 rebounds. The Lady Hawks shot just 1-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Christensen attributed the defeat to North Sanpete coming out “really flat” in the first half.
”If we had come out and played a full game, we could have … gotten a win,” Christensen said.
Reagan Sanderson hit eight – yes, eight – 3-pointers for the Wildcats as part of a 29-point night.
“She hit a couple early that were pretty lucky; she had a bank shot from deep,” Christensen said. “So she got some confidence early and then from there, I felt like she could shoot from anywhere and make it at that point.”
Henrie scored her 12 points in around thirteen and a half minutes—all in the second half.
“In the second half, she was really good for us,” Christensen said. “She found some driving lanes and was just tough down there in the low post for us. Which is nice; she’s athletic enough where she can work with those big kids.”
Of Kortley Cook’s nine-point outing, Christensen said she “does a good job for us managing the floor as the point guard.”
The Lady Hawks fell 37-22 Saturday morning, Dec. 19 to Duchesne (3-3) to close their participation in the tournament. Henrie, Kortley Cook and Briggs each scored five points for the Lady Hawks. Henrie, Briggs and Eliason ripped seven, six and five rebounds, respectively. Kady Cook and Kortley Cook each nabbed two steals.
Christensen called the game “disappointing.”
“We could have beat that team,” she said.
North Sanpete was down just 23-17 with five and a half minutes left in the game, but then the Eagles got two fast breaks. All of a sudden, it was a 10-point contest with less than four and a half minutes to go in a low-scoring game.
Christensen agreed that the fast breaks were a catalyst to the contest.
“You start off with two turnovers in a row; they get layups; we don’t sprint back; we don’t play defense,” Christensen said. “We are young; it’s going to happen, but we’ve gotta take care of the ball.”
The Lady Hawks also dealt with some foul trouble. Kady Cook got her second foul midway through the second quarter, while Briggs picked up her fourth before the third quarter was over.
“We need to learn to play defense without our hands, really is the issue,” Christensen said. “Kady and Eryn really have a hard time reaching.”
North Sanpete struggled to get back on defense at times in the second quarter. Asked if it could be a result of the Lady Hawks playing their fourth game in five days, Christensen said “It might be.”
“We only have a six, seven-man rotation,” Christensen explained. “Yeah, four games in a week is a lot.”
Christensen didn’t think fondly of the 1-3-1 three-quarter court pressure that Duchesne tried to apply.
“Honestly, Duchesne, it’s not very good. I mean, we beat it, so, you know what I am saying?”
The Lady Hawks fell 72-19 Tuesday, Dec. 15 at Manti (3-3, 2-0) (for more details, see Matt Harris’ story in this section).
North Sanpete center Lucy Oldroyd is playing more after spraining her ankle earlier in the season. Counting Murillo, Christensen said “it’s nice to have two big guys—big girls—and she’s good for us; she’s really solid, defensively and offensively; we can count on her to take care of the ball and play defense without fouling.”
Kady Cook was put into the starting lineup because Bree Allred sprained her ankle.
“Kady’s done a really good job for us,” Christensen said. “Defensively, she’s tough, so it’s not bad.”
The Lady Hawks do not play again until Jan. 5, when they play at American Leadership Academy (2-3, 0-2). Then they play Jan. 7 at Union (5-4, 1-0).