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The City Journals

Grizzlies girls basketball ends season with loss in state tournament

Mar 29, 2021 12:21PM ● By Greg James

Freshman Ellie Taylor started every game for the Grizzlies this season; she averaged 7.8 points per game. (Greg James/City Journals)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

It was definitely a roller-coaster season for a new coaching staff, a young team and girls basketball fans at Copper Hills this season.

“All things considered, I think we got some good experience,” first-year Grizzly girls basketball coach Jake Timpson said. “We learned what it takes to win in 6A basketball every night.”

The Grizzlies graduated eight seniors off of last year’s team. At times this year, only one senior played significant minutes, and the starting lineup included a freshman and sophomore.

They finished the season fifth in the Utah High School Activities Association’s Region 3 with a 7-13 overall record. That earned them the 14th seed in the state playoffs and the opportunity to host Roy in the first round.

The playoff ended abruptly for the Grizzlies as they fell 70-55, a game they never led. Ellie Taylor had 17 points, and Keely Dettling pitched in with 12 in the loss.

“That game was a perfect example of our season,” Timpson said. “That is a game we should not lose. They had seniors fighting for their lives in the tournament, and we did not match their intensity. I think we learned some lessons.” 

Sophomore Jada Vick led the team in scoring, averaging 8.6 points per game. She also averaged nearly two steals.

“Jada is strong and handled the ball for us most of the season,” Timpson said. “She has some big goals and we as a coaching staff want to help push her towards those goals. I think the sky's the limit for her.” 

Freshman Ellie Taylor averaged 7.8 points per game in her first season of varsity basketball. 

“I think our young players got some good experience and learned what it takes to win in 6A basketball every night,” Timpson said. “It takes preparation and desire. On several occasions, we played hard for only part of the game.” 

Taylor started every game this season. She scored a season-high 17 points twice. In the state tournament first-round game, she hit five three-pointers.

“As [Taylor] grows and refines her game, she could easily become a division-one (college) player,” Timpson said. “She has length and ball-handling skills. She is a smart player.”

The inexperienced young players were forced to play in different positions. Junior Amelia Brady is a 6-foot-3 post player that led the team in rebounds and blocks.

“Brady could be a force in the low post with some confidence,” Timpson said.

Copper Hills played in the state championship finals in 2019 and lost to Bingham 46-41. The team advanced to the semifinals in 2017 and 2018 with Ben Morley as the head coach. He had led the team for 10 years. Timpson had worked on his staff for the last four seasons.

“Ben has built this program from the bottom up,” Timpson said. “He has made it a respectable program. I have some big shoes to fill. He is now the athletic director and is very supportive of our program.”

This offseason, Timpson plans on concentrating on improving team defense. 

“This is a good group of girls,” he said. “This season was challenging. Tryouts were pushed back, we had games and practices canceled. Going through adversity has taught us things not only on the court but in our lives. We will make the best of any situation.”