Skyline senior Madison Grange, who plans to play collegiately at Utah Valley, drove the length of the court to attempt a layup Friday.
Standing in here way was Deserae Falatea. Small in stature but large in heart, Falatea viciously swatted away the attempt. It was to be a consistent theme throughout the contest as Falatea ended her night with four blocks.
East ultimately provided too much pressure, wearing down the Eagles to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 42-37 victory in girls’ basketball action.
“We started out slow, but we were able to lift each other up,” Falatea said. “It was definitely a team effort, and I couldn’t have done it without them. If we keep playing defense the way we are capable of, we can go far.”
East missed several layups in the opening quarter, but persistence paid off handsomely. The Leopards employed a full-court press that resulted in several turnovers, and suddenly what once was closed off for the them was wide open. Rita Satini led the Leopards with 13 points off several layups, and the dominating center play of Lani Taliauli provided some punch in the paint.
“We struggled in the first quarter, and Skyline does a great job of playing great defense,” East coach Olosaa Solovi said. “ But I’m so proud of these girls. They’ve worked so hard all season, and we have a long way to go. But we’re going to continue to work and play hard.”
Grange’s formidable front court presence ensured that the Eagles would fight until the bitter end, leading the charge for Skyline with 15 points and several rebounds. She and Barrett Jessop provided a nice one-two punch for the Eagles as Barrett landed a pair of 3-pointers to keep the Eagles within striking distance.
However, every time Skyline threatened to close the gap, East showed more resolve.