On Feb. 3, the St. Joseph girls’ basketball team got crushed in a 58-21 home loss to Rich. Fifteen days later, the team rode the hot hand of senior guard Katie Berry, who scored 19 points, as St. Joseph captured the Class 1A title with a 48-34 win over Rich.
Berry was the heart and soul of a team usually linked with academic excellence as opposed to basketball prowess. She averaged 15 points per game and led St. Joseph with 31 3-pointers this year. For her efforts, Berry is The Salt Lake Tribune’s 1A girls’ basketball MVP.
“Winning it all still hasn’t really sunk in,” said Berry. “We knew we were capable, but it’s still a shock and a really great feeling.”
The only child of Julie and Edward Berry, Katie, along with best friend Sam Bischoff, picked up basketball to do something away from school that provided a physical and emotional release.
“It was kind of just something to do at first, but the more I played, the more I loved the game,” she said.
On the advancement through the tournament — and particularly the unlikely win over Rich — St. Joseph coach Joe Cravens said it was a matter of timing, and the team believing in their leader.
“It seemed our team kind of peaked at the right time and our confidence grew with every game at state,” said Cravens. “Katie was really wired against Rich, and her first couple of shots barely touched the net, and I think that gave our girls some confidence.”
One of just two players in St. Joseph history to reach 1,000 points, Berry paid tribute to her teammates and school.
“It was a total team effort, and it was great to see our school so fired up about basketball,” she said.