PROVO Though it featured two of the top teams in Utah high school girls' basketball, the Skyline versus Timpview game was a very typical first game of the season for both squads.
Neither team could get things up and running in an ugly first quarter that featured a total of eight points between the two teams on four free throws and a pair of layups. But eventually, the 5A powerhouse Eagles came through and defeated last year's 4A state champ Thunderbirds 49-36.
"It was pretty erratic out there, but I was pleased that the kids fought hard and came back," said Skyline coach Deb Bennett after her Eagles fell behind 18-10 midway through the second quarter.
Timpview's Gabrielle Pinegar came through with a pair of treys early in the second, and she and teammate Chelsea Bridgewater each added a layup shortly thereafter, giving the T-Birds the advantage. But it was all Dani Peterson leading the huge comeback as the tough post star who has signed with BYU came on strong after the end of the first quarter jitters.
"Dani is a strong presence on the court. We were down eight, and Dani's pressure on the ball along with her intensity got us caught up. She also hit free throws down the stretch," said Bennett, who added, "She can handle the ball as well as the guards."
And ball handling was important in a matchup between two uptempo teams. The two squads racked up 49 total turnovers in the contest, including 29 from the T-Birds.
After after missing a fastbreak layup early on in the contest, Peterson went on to dominate with 26 total points.
Her coach was also impressed with her free throw abilities, which included seven of eight in the fourth quarter and 6-6 down the stretch. Fellow BYU signee Jenteal Jackson added 6-of-8 free throws in the fourth period in scoring her 12 total for the game.
"They called a lot of fouls, and we knocked down our free throws down the stretch," said Bennett.
But while the Eagles put together a 27-37 effort from the free throw line for the night, the T-Birds only managed 6-15 overall.
The T-Birds' big three scored 31 of the team's 36 total points as Pinegar drained three treys and 14 points, Bridgewater added seven as she fought through foul trouble, and Alexis Kaufusi came back with 10 in her first full game in over a year.Widely considered one of the top posts in the state, Kaufusi has spent the better part of the past two seasons on the bench with a couple of injuries, including an ACL tear that benched her for all of last year.