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David Butler,

MIDVALE — Some squads might not celebrate a win over a team with just one region win.

But for the Hillcrest Huskies, their 55-49 victory over Herriman is just a step on a path they believe will take them to their first state tournament berth in years.

The Huskies have already won more games this season than they did in the last two seasons combined. That's due, in large part, to the hard work and leadership of the team's seniors.

"This feels great," said senior Ashley Jewell, who scored seven points.

Senior Whitney Lott, who scored eight points, added, "It's been a long time coming."

Friday's win was a thriller, with sophomore Robyn Oliphant coming up big for the Huskies. She scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against a physical Herriman squad.

The teams stayed within a few points of each other most of the game, but the Hillcrest seniors said they were confident they would come through.

"I think we knew we'd end up with the win, but that was a tough game," said Lott. "We had to work hard the whole time."

Lott said they expected a tough contest.

"We knew they'd put pressure on the ball and we knew they were a hard working team," she said.

Part of Hillcrest's strength was its balanced scoring. Whitney Nemelka, Jewell and Amber Christensen each scored seven points, while junior Madison Shaw led all scorers with 14 points.

Despite the joy of winning a game that keeps them in the playoff hunt, neither coach nor players were celebrating too much.

"It's a good win," said Huskies head coach Dave Richardson. "It's not anywhere we want to be yet, but we pulled out a good game tonight."

Winning a close game against a tough team will only make the Huskies more confident going forward.

"It's got to," said Richardson. "To win close games definitely helps a team."

Herriman was led by Alexis Roberts, who scored 10 points, and Brittney Maynard, who scored 11 points.

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