Taylorsville • On Monday, the Skyline girls’ basketball team proved it could win when one player had an outstanding game. On Wednesday, it proved it could win in more balanced fashion.
The Eagles played their best basketball in the fourth quarter to oust Maple Mountain from the Class 4A state tournament with a 43-33 quarterfinal victory at Salt Lake Community College. Three Skyline players scored in double digits, led by Ta’a Tuinei’s double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Skyline trailed for most of the first half, going down 25-18 the break. But the team rallied and eventually overwhelmed the Golden Eagles with its energy.
“I honestly feel that we played so intense, they started to give up on themselves,” Tuinei said. “We kept our heads up and played as hard as we could.”
Skyline took its first lead in the second half as it went on an 8-0 run. Miquelle Askew, who scored 35 points in the first-round game, was held in check by Maple Mountain’s zone. But as the Eagles drew some turnovers from their own zone defense, the transition game opened up the offense.
Askew managed to get a few baskets, and guards Sydnee Taylor and Ashley Aberton starting beating the Golden Eagles down the floor. After leading most of the way, Maple Mountain suddenly found itself in a 36-29 hole.
The team never recovered, and Skyline closed out with authority.
“We changed our defense and our defensive attitude,” coach Deb Bennett said. “Playing good defense carried over to our offense. I’m proud — our girls never gave up.”
Maple Mountain still had a solid offensive game from Aleksa Gappmayer, who finished with 18 points, but no other player scored more than four. Both teams were also shut out from 3-point range.
Skyline next goes against Timpanogos in the semifinals, who beat the Eagles 44-36 earlier in the season. But the Eagles believe they can get a different result this time around.
“We’ve grown so much together, and we’re a better team now,” Tuinei said. “They’re going to see a whole different team than the one they played.”
Skyline 43, Maple Mountain 33
• The Eagles go on an 8-0 fourth-quarter run to get past Maple Mountain.
• Three Eagles score in double digits, led by Ta’a Tuinei’s 14 points.
• Aleksa Gappmayer scores a game-high 18 points for the Golden Eagles.