Home » Team of the Year: Led by young players, Bountiful girls basketball had a banner season – Standard-Examiner

Team of the Year: Led by young players, Bountiful girls basketball had a banner season – Standard-Examiner

by Arifa Rana

BOUNTIFUL — Some people inside and outside the Bountiful High girls basketball team were uncertain before the 2021-22 season began.
Roster turnover was happening before tryouts and the onus would fall on underclassmen, including a freshman, to lead the team.
So the expectations were uncertain. In preseason polls, the Region 5 coaches still thought of Bountiful as a top-half-of-the-region team.
Four months later, Bountiful exceeded even its head coach’s own expectations. The Redhawks went 21-4 overall, 10-0 in Region 5, won 17 games in a row at one point and advanced to the state semifinals.
Bountiful is the 2022 Standard-Examiner All-Area Girls Basketball Team of the Year.
“I honestly thought we’d be a good team (at the start of the year). To be where we’re sitting at, that wasn’t realistic to me at that time,” BHS coach Joel Burton said after the team’s first-round playoff win over Provo in February. “As the season’s gone and the more I’ve seen these kids play for each other, it hasn’t surprised me that they’ve done what they have because they play so hard for each other, and I’ve loved seeing that.”
It all happened amid an uncertain backdrop in October and early November.
Bountiful had two starters and a bench player from the 2020-21 team decide not to play at the start of the year, though one of them (Emrie Satuala) was graduating high school early.
So a young team took the floor and went 8-3 in nonregion play. The real challenge, Region 5, awaited.
Typically, Region 5’s tough to win for any team, though the past three champions have now done it unbeaten — Bountiful this year, Farmington the previous two years.
For the three south Davis County teams, it can sometimes be harder because they face two close rivals twice per season.
All the Redhawks did was go 10-0 in region play, beating title challenger and rival Viewmont twice in the same week by single digits each time.
They beat rival Woods Cross twice and also had fourth-quarter comebacks to beat Box Elder (57-49 after trailing 43-38) and Northridge (42-35 after trailing 26-22).
“We’ve got three games in my mind that we could’ve lost easy going through region. Viewmont, Box Elder the first time and even Northridge here … was a little bit dicey. We swept region, which I didn’t think anybody could do that because I thought our region was really even,” Burton said.
Late in the season, one of the starters from the 2020-21 team, Jordyn Harvey, joined (or rejoined) the team as sort of insurance to cover a potential season-ending injury from the one of the starters that, thankfully for BHS, didn’t happen.
In the six-game stretch with Harvey on the team, BHS went 5-1 with four double-digit wins. The win over Provo, a 44-25 decision, was the start of the Redhawks’ playoff run.
Next, they had to beat two Region 5 teams for the third time in the same season: Box Elder and Viewmont.
They did just that and vaulted into the state semifinals for the first time since 2016. Their season ended in the semis against eventual champion Springville in a 41-21 loss.
After that game, Burton said it was disappointing for the team to only score 21 points and shoot 7 of 34 from the field; however, he was happy with how things went the entire year, where BHS won 21 games.
“Pressure of the moment and Springville combined, these kids have never been here, they haven’t experienced this,” he said afterward. “To play two games here at the (University of Utah), I’m extremely proud of them for what they’ve accomplished.
All told, a freshman, Taylor Harvey, led the team in scoring and rebounding: 15 points and eight rebounds per game while shooting 44% from the field.
Two juniors, Lizzy McConkie and Claire Cook, were next in terms of scoring average with 9.8 and 8.3 points per game, respectively.
The team stuck to its methods all season, shooting three times as many 2-pointers (48% shooting) as it did 3-pointers (24% shooting) — the team’s skill set was better at getting to the rim — and allowing just 36.4 points per game on defense.
“I just think our kids love playing together and they work really, really hard to go out and just try to shut a team down and they take a lot of pride in it,” Burton said about the defense after the Provo win. “For myself and my coaching staff, that’s been a huge focus for us.”
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