High school girls basketball: St. Joseph enjoying the pressure of being the favorite in 1A
Milford is off to an impressive start with wins over Rich, Green River, Monticello and Duchesne. The Tigers have played one of the tougher preseason schedules and they've proved themselves a contender in a tough region and at the state level.
They're led by Kennedy Netto, who is averaging 15 points and 5.5 rebounds per game; Chandler Rose, who is averaging 14 points and 4.25 rebounds per game; and Tia Florence, who is averaging 8 points and 5 rebounds per game.
The secret to Milford's success is the fact that all but two of the Tigers' players have shared the court since grade school.
"I've been coaching these girls for quite some time, probably fifth grade," said head coach Jeff Brough. "I knew they had the potential to become something special. Things have just kind of fallen our way so far. But our region is tough and there are some good teams at the state level. So we'll see how we compete against them."
Florence and her twin sister Nicole are the two new players, but Brough said they've assimilated well and provide depth and athleticism that's only made the team tougher.
"So far our strength is that everybody knows where everybody is," he said. "This is not their first rodeo, I guess you could say. They're just a fun team to watch play."
Milford's region is one of the deepest with Bryce Valley, Piute and Panguitch all possible contenders for the Region 20 title. And even with 0-4 region records, Wayne and Valley could upset any of the top teams on any given night.
"There is not a weak team in our region," he said. "If you're not on your game, they'll beat you. I think it's good. It gets the girls prepared for the tournaments." Bryce Valley is ranked No. 5 right now after a 9-1 start to the season. The team is led by Whitni Syrett, who averages 16 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, and Taylor Talbot, who averages 6.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Bryce Valley has already beaten two 2A teams — Kanab and Parowan — as well as Wayne, Panguitch and Piute in region play.
Green River is another team that could be in the mix in February and should compete for a Region 19 title. The Pirates are led by senior Michaela Hughes, who averages 13.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Layton Christian is another team that could compete as it has an athletic team with a tough-minded approach. LCA is led by Teneshia Davison, who averages 14.8 points and 14.3 rebounds per game.
STATEWIDE 1A RANKINGS
- St. Joseph 9-0
- Manila 8-1
- Rich 7-1
- Milford 11-1
- Bryce Valley 9-1
- St. Joseph
- Layton Christian
- West Ridge
- Legacy Prep
- Green River
- Monument Valley
- Navajo Mountain
- Bryce Valley