Senior-laden Skyline off to hot start in preseason
Jan 13, 2020 11:40AM
● By Justin Adams
Junior Grace Marsh shoots a free throw in the second half of a 54-43 victory over Taylorsville. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Skyline’s girls basketball program is known for its winning culture.
Since 2006, the Eagles have been in five state championships, winning three of them (most recently in 2017) with head coaches Deb Bennett and Lynette Schroeder, respectively. After a below par year by the program’s lofty standards due to some key injuries, head coach Sam White and his eight seniors are ready to get back to winning ways.
And White believes that’s more than possible with the personnel they have.
“We were super junior heavy last year, now all seniors this year,” he said. “A lot of them played varsity last year and got that experience. It's really helped them turn the corner — we have some amazing leaders on the team. The skill level is unreal, and they've been putting in the work.”
It saw the team jump to a fast start, opening the season with a four-game winning streak before falling on the road to 6A power Herriman.
Each of those early wins were by double digits, made possible by the balance in the team, White said.
“We're so talented in so many positions that it doesn't need to be one player,” he said. In a 76-59 victory over Spanish Fork, five different Eagles hit double digits.
With two six-footers on the inside with Senior Bella Roden and Freshman Tina Njike and “three of the fastest guards around (Seniors Kate Vorwaller, Amit Lustgarten and Clair Whisenant),” White feels they have the quality to win different ways whether that’s in the post, outside shooting or in transition.
White also preaches ball movement in his offense. “If these guys will just pass the ball, keep moving it and running for their teammates, every time down we could have a different person score,” he said, adding it makes the team more successful and enjoyable to watch.
“Night to night you never know who’s going to rise from the shadows and it's fun to see,” White said.
One example is the Taylorsville game where Skyline downed the Warriors at home 54-43. Vorwaller was everywhere taking the initiative, finishing the game with 11 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals to lead the Eagles.
But it’s not just Vorwaller, White emphasized. “I could name the whole group.”
White is also running practices a little differently this year. Taking a page from football, he serves as the offensive coordinator and his assistant coach Justin Hadlock acts as the defensive coordinator.
“It’s great we can focus on our specific thing, makes practices run a little smoother, they get to hear a different voice throughout practice, not just me. He gets to focus on defense and he’s done a masterful job so far,” White said.
As for the season’s expectations, White said they’re taking it one game at a time. They want a top five seed in the RPI rankings and to make a splash in region.
“The girls from top to bottom are phenomenal and working hard,” he said.