SALT LAKE CITY — The 2A girls basketball tournament is here, and with it comes a promise of a “new” season. It’s the most exciting time of the year for a basketball team, with 16 teams vying for the title.
North Summit, Wasatch Academy and Beaver are the No. 1 seeds as the tournament gets underway Friday at Snow College. Every round after the first round will be played at Weber State.
“We’re excited. It’s what you play the season for and you get to go and see how you match up, and so we’re excited to have it at Weber State, close to our place,” said North Summit head coach Jerre Holmes. "Typically, we’re the ones travelling and so it’s going to be a good change this year to have it in our own backyard."
Holmes is busy preparing his team for the tournament, but at the end of the day, he knows there’s a little bit of luck involved in a deep tournament run.
“With all of the preparation and all that goes into it, there’s always a little bit of luck involved," Holmes said. "You hope that all your kids are healthy; you hope that they’re on their game. There’s that little bit of luck involved in a championship, but other than that, I just think you prepare the best that you can and in being prepared, I think that breeds confidence. Our kids know that when we go into a game, we’re as prepared as we can be and now we’ve just got to go out and execute it and have fun.”
This year’s field is especially deep, with a host of good teams that all have a chance to win a championship.
“In my mind, there will be at least six other teams there that have a chance to win it," Holmes said. "Just because we’ve been on a win streak doesn’t mean that everybody’s going to lay down for us when we get there. Those southern teams and Wasatch Academy, they’re good teams. I do think that Region 18 has four teams that are good enough to win the championship."
North Summit enters the tournament having swept through Region 16 play. The Braves are led by Kennady McQueen, who is averaging 21.5 points per game.
“She’s an outstanding player. She’s earned it. She absolutely has put the time in to get better," Holmes said. "All the offseason things that she has done has made her a great player. She’s already a great athlete, but the skills that she’s developed through all of the time she’s put in, it gives us a scorer. She’s full of energy, she plays hard on both ends of the floor, she’s unselfish, she just does those things that you expect a good player to do."
Beaver finished first in the Region 18 at 11-8 and are led by a starting lineup of seniors, including Sydnee Gillins, who averages 11.1 points per game. The Beavers are hoping that experience pays off in the tournament.Comment on this story
“We’re hoping it helps a lot,” said Beaver girls basketball coach Jonathan Marshall. "This group of seniors, they’ve been playing a long time. We’ve had a couple of them that have started since they were freshmen (and) a couple others that have played a lot of minutes for us since they were freshmen."
Wasatch Academy cruised through Region 17, finishing with a 12-0 record. Nataly Dunka leads the Tigers with 18.9 points per game.
“She brings a lot of athleticism, a lot of length, (and) she brings a lot of versatility, leadership by example,” said Wasatch Academy head coach Bianka Balthazar. "She plays hard, she rebounds, she obviously can score. She leads by example on the court. She just brings an overall dominant presence to our team."