TAYLORSVILLE — Sky View and Skyline met in each team’s season opener in late November.
It has been 20-plus games and three months since that matchup between the 4A girls basketball heavyweights, and yet both teams are back at the center of each other’s focus.
The 4A girls state tournament begins with eight first-round games Monday at Salt Lake Community College, where the Bobcats are looking to avenge their early-season loss to the Eagles in the 4:10 p.m. time slot.
“We are completely concerned about Skyline right now,” Sky View coach Kimber Hall said of his team’s preparations for the postseason. “We just watch film from our first game with Skyline and know we have both improved, have both become different teams since then.”
Junior Lindsey Jensen has been a key to the Bobcats’ success all season, averaging 18.6 points and 8.1 boards per game.
The Eagles, who have been led all season by the scoring of Hillary Weixler and Sydnee Taylor, have posted big wins against solid teams across the state, including Judge Memorial, Mountain View, Brighton and Timpanogos in the midst of a nine-game winning streak. However, Skyline suffered some key injuries and faltered late in the season, dropping three of its final six games and falling to third in a tough Region 7.
The Bobcats, who head into the tournament with the top Deseret News ranking in 4A and the second seed in Region 5, have lost just three games since that opener. Those three schools have been at the top of their respective classifications: Morgan in 3A, Fremont in 5A and region foe Bonneville in 4A.
“Bonneville is a very strong team. They have had a strong regular season and have played consistent all year,” Hall said, noting the Bobcats and Lakers beat each other once to split the region title. “Beating them at home was a big highlight for our season.”
As the No. 1 seed from Region 5, Bonneville will meet Murray, the fourth seed out of Region 7. Timpanogos earned the top spot in Region 7 after winning its final seven games and Mountain View placed third. The former, led by Jamaica Christensen and Eternity Galeai, will meet Roy, and the latter will face Mountain Crest.
“They have a strong region and they are both playing really well,” Hall said of the Timberwolves and Bruins. “Another team I am concerned about: Judge. I have heard a lot of good things about what Judge is doing.”
The Bulldogs, in their first year in 4A, earned the Region 6 title and have lost just two games all year — once to Skyline and once to region foe Bountiful — behind the terrific play of senior Kailie Quinn.
Quinn is leading not just 4A but the entire state in scoring (21.3 per game), 3-pointers (3.5 pg) and rebounds (13.9 pg). She is sixth overall in assists (5.3 pg) and second in steals (5.1).
Judge will face Wasatch, another ascender from 3A and the No. 4 seed from Region 8, in the 7:30 p.m. game, while Timpview, the Region 8 champion, will meet Woods Cross. The T-Birds, who have lost just three games all season, have been led by Lacy Haddock and Lyndie Haddock, who average a combined 30.5 points and 20.3 rebounds per game.
“There are at least four or five teams that could take it,” Hall said. “I think it’s anybody’s game. We just hope to be right there in the mix.”
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.