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Hillcrest: A Young, Talented Team in Girls Basketball

Jan 26, 2016 11:12AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Ron Bevan | Ron@mycityjournals.com

Midvale - Sometimes when a coach takes over the helm of a high school team, they have the luxury of relying on a strong senior class to help with growing pains. Shannon Hurst did not have that luxury at Hillcrest.

Hurst is in her first year as the head coach for the Husky girls basketball team, although she has been with the program five years as an assistant coach. And she has one of the youngest teams recently fielded at Hillcrest.

 “We only have one senior playing this season,” Hurst said. “We should have two, but one tore her ACL in her knee and will be out the entire season.”

Sia Ika is the lone senior suiting up this season for the Huskies. And at one time even she was out with an injury.

“Ika had something going on with her leg, and it was tough for our team when she had to sit out for a few games,” Hurst said. “Ika is not only athletic, but she also brings a lot of positive energy to the floor. Everyone loves playing basketball with her. She has senior leadership that will be hard to replace next year.”

Usually lined up in the guard position, Ika has been utilized as a small forward when needed.

“She is an animal when we put her down low,” Hurst said. “She can rebound strong and run the floor.”

Ika would have a fellow classmate with her in Morgan Trelease, who was on last year’s squad. But Trelease tore her ACL during fall basketball leagues. She is still helping the team, however, using her basketball knowledge from the sidelines helping Hurst make adjustments during games.

“Trelease sees things we might miss and points them out,” Hurst said. “It has been nice to have her on the sideline. She is like a student coach.”

Hillcrest is even shallow at the junior class, with only three girls on the team. To that end, Hurst relies on several sophomores and even a few freshmen to fill the void.

“We have a lot of talent in our sophomore group,” Hurst said.

A quartet of sophomores is leading Hillcrest in scoring. Annabella Jensen leads all scorers with 153 points this season. Taylee Allen has put in an additional 138 points and Cara Snowder has added 114. Gabi Desjardins, also a sophomore, has been the long ball threat for Hillcrest, hitting eight treys this year and scoring 74 points.

Because the team is so young and relatively inexperienced at the varsity level, Hillcrest has struggled for the first part of the season.  The Huskies grabbed only one win during the preseason, but back-to-back wins against Cyprus and Kearns has given Hillcrest a 2-1 region record and a shot at making the preseason.

Whether this season brings success for Hillcrest remains to be seen, with seven games remaining. But the experience being gained by the underclassmen is giving Hurst hope for the future.

“I get two additional years with these girls before they graduate,” Hurst said. “I am hoping all this experience they are getting at the varsity level will help them in the next two years. We could really be turning some heads soon.”

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