OREM — Youth and inexperience were not the Skyline girl's basketball team's friends last season. But this year everything is looking up as, that inexperience thing isn't on their backs any more.
"Last year we were young and so inexperienced, and in pressure situations it makes a huge difference. We're just a lot more experienced all-around than last year," said Skyline coach Deb Bennett, who is thrilled that her team learned from a year of being green.
And that experience showed in spades as the Eagles earned a 56-37 victory over the Mountain View Bruins and improved their preseason record to 3-2 this season.
The Bruins meanwhile are in the opposite position from the Eagles. Though Mountain View took the 4A title last season, the Bruins lost their entire starting lineup and the first two players off the bench to graduation, leaving them with their own huge lump of inexperience this season.
Skyline's Whitney Jenkins showed a great deal of leadership and court sense during the game against the Bruins as the Utah Valley signee has taken over as team leader.
"She's such a hard worker. She has a ball in her hands every day and is just fundamentally sound and a real team player," said Bennett of Jenkins, who finished the game with nine points.
But it was a combo effort from Miquelle Askew and Abbie Brickley that kept the Bruins off balance in their efforts to stop the Eagles and score a few points of their own. Askew and Brickley were monsters on the boards, something that Bennett says is a common occurrence this season.
"Miquelle is stronger under the basket this year. She's playing much better with her back to the basket. Abbie just gobbles up the rebounds," said Bennett of her inside forces.
Askew led all scorers with 18 points in the game, six of them coming on putbacks. Brickley finished with seven points off the bench.
Hannah Bezdjian also gave the Eagles some good minutes with eight points and some solid all-around play.
Skyline just took over early and never let up throughout the game, even though they held large leads throughout. They continued surging ahead all game long, expanding their leads and building a cushion of up to 23 points before settling for the 19-point victory.
"It's a focus. When we played Sky View and Syracuse we had letups. But we've been focusing on playing the whole game and keeping our energy up," said Bennett, who also noted that her team has been working hard in practice on free-throw shooting.
The free-throw shooting drills obviously came to good effect for the Eagles as they poured in 75 percent from the line by hitting 15-of-20, while the Bruins only managed to hit 10-of-20 attempts.