TAYLORSVILLE — Skyline’s hot start in the opening round of the 4A state tournament may have surprised a lot of people, but head coach Lynette Schroeder was not one of them.
“That’s the team I expect every game,” the Eagles' coach said after Skyline defeated Bonneville 60-44 Monday in the first round of playoff games at Salt Lake Community College. “Whether we bring it or not, that’s what I expect from them every game. I was just happy they came ready to play today.”
It’s easy to understand why there were doubts about how the Eagles would fare in the state tournament. The team started the season 0-6 and finished 14-10 overall. They lost to Bonneville earlier this season, and not a single player on this year’s roster played significant minutes in last year’s second-place state tournament run.
Even Schroeder’s players said their hot start, which included hitting four threes in the first quarter for a 19-5 first quarter lead, was even better than they hoped.
“Not really,” said Hannah Anderl, who finished with 10 points in the win. “I thought we would be nervous coming in as a young team. Like no one has ever played in the state tournament before. We’re all new to this. But I was really surprised and happy about how our team came out.”
Anderl said the players felt confident because they’ve spent a lot of time preparing for moments like those from Monday.
“We have a lot of really good shooters on our team,” she said. “And we’ve just been working really hard in practice and getting off lots of shots.”
She said their coach also offered them advice about savoring an experience not every player is lucky enough to enjoy.
“She just said come out every game fighting hard because it might be our last game,” Anderl said. “So give it everything we’ve got. It feels great.”
Sophomore Madison Grange, who hit one of those opening-quarter 3-pointers, led the team offensively with 11 points. Interestingly, Grange hit a 3-pointer last year when she was able to play a few minutes in Skyline’s double-digit quarterfinal win.
For the Lakers, Sam Filiaga led the way with 21 points, while Hannah Shore added 18 points.
Schroeder said the secret of turning what could have been a mediocre season to a region title and first-round playoff win is found in a lot of sweat and effort.
“We’ve put a lot of work in,” Schroeder said. “We’ve been working really hard, and our young players are really starting to get the defensive concept, and it’s showing in the way we’re playing now.”Comment on this story
That work made those early season losses, including the one to Bonneville, insignificant.
“As long as we learned from our loss, it didn’t matter at all,” Schroeder said. “And I feel like we did. I feel like we learned from every loss, and those losses have really put us to where we are today.”