TAYLORSVILLE — Vika Havili believed what her coach said about the basketball court at Salt Lake Community College.
"She said, 'It's the same size; the hoops are the same height; it's all the same'," said the Cottonwood senior. "It just seemed bigger."
So she followed the game plan her coach laid out, fought hard in the paint and eventually that slightly sick feeling she had as the game began just dissipated.
"My butterflies just flew away," she said with a grin after the Colts won their first playoff game in almost two decades with a 51-36 win over Taylorsville Monday at Salt Lake Community College.
Havili was huge in the paint for the Colts. The team's rebounding was key in the win, especially in the second half. Havili finished with 13 points, while her teammate Mckenzie Anderson, led the team offensively with 15 points.
"It is awesome," said Anderson of being part of the winning the first playoff game in many years for the Colts. "I don't know how to explain it."
Kristina (Tina) Hosea added 14 points and helped the Colts spread the floor against the Warrior defense.
Colts head coach Janae Hirschi said before the game they discussed the significance of the win for the program.
"We just told them this was the first time Cottonwood had won a first round playoff game in 20-plus years, and we are way proud of them," said the third year coach of her speech after the win.
Hirschi said her players followed the game plan and worked hard. And while they were celebrating the victory, she reminded them that their season wasn't over yet.
"We know the journey is not over," she said. "We know it's going to be tough. We know Syracuse is a great team. But we're going to come Wednesday and give our very best. ... We want to see how far we can go."
She reminded them that their best effort had created a great result for them Monday — even though the game wasn't perfect.
"We saw their very best in that game," she said. "If they give their best effort, good things will happen."
The Warriors were led by Siu Lo'amanu, who scored 10 points, Whitney Mitchell, who added eight points and Katie Greengerg, who finished with seven points.
For Taylorsville head coach Jace Hymas, it was his last game as a high school coach.
He enjoyed his last game at the helm of a team even though the players didn't execute the game plan he offered them.
"I will miss the kids themselves," he said. "They could not pay me enough to go coach boys. These girls, regardless of the outcome, you'll want to adopt them."
He said the girls show grace and gratitude, regardless of wins, losses or personal accolades.
"They never forget what you do for them," he said. "Pretty soon I'll get wedding invitations for these girls, thank you notes. ... These are lifetime relationships."
Hymas said he was recently called to be a bishop in his LDS ward for the second time and his youngest child got married. After 23 years, he felt he needed to spend more time with his wife and to the job of a bishop.
"It doesn't seem like you can be really good at both," he said of coaching and being a bishop. "You know if you love your job, it's not like you ever have to go to work. ... For 23 years, I've coached in the Granite District and I've never had to get up and go to work."Comment on this story
Hymas said he has but one regret as his coaching career ends.
"My biggest regret is the time away from my family," he said of his wife and seven kids. "But I will miss the association with so many good people."
And he takes some comfort in the knowledge that a lot of his former players are now teaching and coaching because they has such great experiences as players.