To me, it didn’t feel like it was easy. Timpview is a good team, but we did some good things, especially in the first half, that gave us a good enough cushion there in the second half. —Kyle Francom
TAYLORSVILLE — When Lauren Gustin and Jane Nelson are on top of their games, the Salem Hills girls basketball team is often a very tough out for any opposing team. When the team is flowing together nicely, the out becomes much more tough.
Fortunately for Salem Hills coach Kyle Francom, Gustin and Nelson, along with the remainder of the team, were in prime form in Monday's Class 4A first-round matchup against Timpview. The result was seemingly easy 66-48 win that probably wasn't as close as the final margin would indicate.
“To me, it didn’t feel like it was easy,” Francom said. “Timpview is a good team, but we did some good things, especially in the first half, that gave us a good enough cushion there in the second half.”
Leading the way were Gustin and Nelson, who led the Skyhawks with 25 and 19 points, respectively. Gustin, a sophomore, did her best work in the post, while the senior Nelson worked effectively from the perimeter and when taking the ball to the hoop.
“They have a really good chemistry,” Francom said. “They read each other really well and not just those two. All the girls do a really good job of running the floor.”
Like a lot of teams playing in the first round, the Skyhawks came out a bit tentative, according to Gustin, despite acquiring a 13-5 lead after the first quarter.
Whatever tentative played showed in the first quarter gave way to a very productive second quarter that saw Salem Hills compile 27 points en route to a big 40-24 lead at the half.
"We were all a little nervous," said Gustin. "It was our first state game. We were rusty, but we got back into it pretty quick. I felt like we moved the ball a lot and hit the boards."
“They’re a young team, but they’re incredibly talented,” Francom said of the Thunderbirds. “I hope they’re not in our region in two years because they’re going to be a dynamite team."
With the win, Salem Hills advances to the second round where it will face off against Skyline Wednesday.