Skyline Eagles Soaring For The State Championship Title
Dec 07, 2015 03:43PM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Sarah Almond
Cottonwood-Holladay - November 9 marked the first day that division 4A high schools could officially begin girls basketball practice. For Skyline head coach Lynette Schroeder, the beginning of the season means holding the first round of tryouts, meeting new players and getting an idea of how her team is shaping up.
“Tryouts went really well,” Schroeder said. “We had 30 girls come out for the season this year, which is probably the most I’ve had in the four years I’ve been coaching here. For some schools, tryouts with 30 girls is small, but for us that was about eight more girls than I usually get.”
By the end of the day on Nov. 10, after two days of tryouts, 25 girls were named part of the Eagles girls basketball team. Out of 15 girls selected to play varsity, only one player, junior shooting guard Hannah Zelenyanszky, has significant experience playing on the varsity team.
“I’m excited about the new girls on varsity,” Zelenyanszky said. “Everyone is very mature and talented and hard working and I think it’s going to be a great season.”
Aside from welcoming five new freshmen to the team, the Eagles team dynamics have changed due to the fact they’re down five seniors from last year.
“The three seniors that we have this year are good leaders,” Schroeder said. “They know what this program holds and they know what the coaching staff expects from the team and so they will be able to help with the dynamics of the younger girls by getting them on the same page.”
Though the team of 25 is split amongst three sub-teams, the Eagles have more underclassmen this year than ever before. With sophomores and juniors making up a majority of the Skyline team, Schroeder is happy with the team’s young talent and is confident in the girls’ ability to win this season.
“Even though the majority of the team has never played varsity, the girls were still in our program and saw the commitment level and work ethic that needed to be performed in order to get to State, and I think that’s really going to work toward our advantage,” Schroeder said.
Prior to the official start of the season, many of the players attended independent practices, shoot arounds, and pick-up games.
“We don’t have a lot of experience as one on the varsity level, but we do have a lot of experience together as a group,” senior point guard and team captain Kayla Alvarez said. “And so far we’ve done a really good job at executing on that varsity level.”
The Eagles’ biggest challenge this season will be finding a strong balance between offense and defense. In the past three years, Skyline has been one of the top three defensive teams in the state of Utah.
“In the past we’ve been really strong defensively, but never anywhere near that on offense,” Schroeder said. “We’ve always been in the middle of the pack offensively. But this year, the dynamic has definitely changed. We have lots of offensive options, but as of right now, we aren’t where we’ve been defensively in years past.”
Now that the official season is underway, the Skyline girls are working hard to improve their defense and become a better team on the court. With two-hour practices, six days a week, Schroeder and the girls are certain they will be ready for their first non-conference game against Brighton on Dec. 1.
“The only thing that will stand in our way of making it to State is ourselves, and not living up to our potential,” Alvarez said. “Once we get into our own heads, we can be our worst competitors. But as long and we keep a clear head and work hard, I think we will be very successful this season.”