Array of scoring talent leads Eagles in title charge
Senior Sarah Trela-Hoskins looks on as junior Barrett Jessop pulls up for a jumper against Murray on Jan. 6 at Skyline High School. (jorgiabarryphoto)
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After making it to the 4A state championship game in 2014 and 2015, the Skyline High School girls basketball team is taking all the necessary steps for a return trip.
“I don’t think (the girls) would be happy unless they were region champs and eventually contenders for the state title,” said Head Coach Lynette Schroeder.
Schroeder said the team, 13-3 at press time, has high goals and the players’ mindset is to win.
“I think we can go undefeated in region; we’re good enough to do that, kind of make a statement here in region,” said senior Hannah Anderl, a two-year captain.
To achieve those goals, the Eagles know what is required and have prepared themselves to do so.
The team went to the Centennial Tournament in Las Vegas in December where they played teams from California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. It’s the fifth consecutive year Schroeder’s taken them to Las Vegas.
“The style of play is a lot quicker, more aggressive. I love to put my players in that situation to prepare them for region and then hopefully state,” Schroeder said.
The team finished second, losing to the tournament hosts in the final. While the result was disappointing, Anderl said it gave the team “a lot of good experience playing those teams. They’re a little faster, little stronger and that prepares us for region here in Utah.”
Schroeder said Anderl’s vision on the court helps provide plenty of scoring opportunities for her teammates.
“She has a high basketball IQ, she sees the floor very well. She’s one of my best scorers but also my best passer too,” Schroeder said.
With the Eagles averaging over 60 points a game, the team boasts a plethora of scoring options. Schroeder said it’s unusual because their strengths are normally built on solid defense, such as in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
“I am blessed this year (with talent),” Schroeder said. “This year’s a little different dynamic where we have a lot of great scorers.”
The Eagles have three players averaging double digits in scoring with Anderl, junior captain Madison Grange and junior Cameron Mooney highlighting the depth of the team.
Senior captain Sarah Trela-Hoskins said the team is unique that way.
“In my experience, lots of teams only have a few strong players, but we have five or six players that can go play — it’s so much harder to stop a team like that, especially when we’re all shooting threats,” Trela-Hoskins said.
Some of that dynamism comes from Trela-Hoskins, with Schroeder noting her versatility to both defend the opposition’s power forward and stretch them out with her shooting range.
Players identified team chemistry as a key component to attaining the heights they’re reaching for. It includes a pre-game ritual where players share what they love about each other.
“It brings us together … it’s almost like we want our teammates to succeed more than ourselves. We’ve definitely developed it over the past couple years and I think it’s stronger than ever,” Trela-Hoskins said.
Anderl said chemistry helps during games due to the trust they’ve built off the court. That unselfishness has translated to the court; Schroeder estimates the team averages around 15 assists per game.
“When we choose to move the ball, we are very difficult to stop,” she said.
With the offense firing on all cylinders, Schroeder said it’s the defense that will determine how far they go. She identified the team’s defensive aggression as an area to improve whether it’s denying passing lanes or limiting teams’ shots per possession.
“Be more aggressive defensively and good things will come because we can score, so if we stop them from scoring that will be in our favor,” Schroeder said.
Leading the Eagles’ charge toward their goals are their captains.
“It was an honor being named captain as a junior to lead my teammates and help them know what they need to do,” Anderl said.
While Anderl is a second-year captain, Grange and Trela-Hoskins have stepped into their first-year roles necessary to lead the team.
“It gave me a different purpose on the team … I feel like I have to step up and be a role model to my teammates and be a positive influence,” said Trela-Hoskins, known for her vocal aspect on the team.
Grange, averaging over 15 points per game, is developing into the captain role as a junior. Schroeder said it’s nice to have your leading scorer be a team leader as well.
With their goals clear, the captains want to achieve them for their coach.
“We want to make our coach proud. (Schroeder) works so hard — we want her dream to come true as much we want ours to come true,” Trela-Hoskins said.
The Eagles’ final home game will be on Monday, Feb. 13 against Olympus. The first round of the state tournament begins Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Salt Lake Community College — Taylorsville Campus.