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Battle of the Presses: Skyridge girls basketball pressure results in win over Springville

By Jared Lloyd - | Nov 30, 2021

Skyridge freshman Bella Sika goes up for a layup during the non-region game against Springville in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

Both the Skyridge and Springville girls basketball teams entered Tuesday’s non-region contest in Lehi with similar goals in mind: Put pressure on the other team, speed things up, run the floor and score fast.

They did, however, use different methods to do it.

The Falcons run a zone-press scheme, while the Red Devils use a man-press approach.

On this night, Skyridge’s scheme and experience proved to be superior as the Falcons built a big lead and cruised to the 60-51 win.

“That might be one of the fastest games of the year,” Skyridge head coach Shaylee Nielsen said. “Both teams are generally small, although we have one post player, so we both use pressure. They are a good team and I think they are going to be tough, so we are always happy if we can sneak out a win against Springville. I’m super-proud of how we played fast but composed.”

Skyridge and Springville players fight for the ball during the non-region game in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

One of the key figures that helped the Falcons control the game is senior guard Teagan Gray, a savvy veteran who understands the importance maintaining composure when the other team is trying to make things be frantic.

“I know I have to be confident in myself,” Gray said. “We have other players who can help and handle it as well, so I can take comfort and work on putting my team in the best position.”

Gray, sophomore Cambree Blackham and the rest of the Skyridge players did just that for long stretches of the game.

The Falcons used a 13-2 run midway through the first half to seize control, then put together a 16-0 run at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter to go up 59-36.

Springville never quit, however, and got the deficit back to just 10 points with two minutes to play. Skyridge then settled in and closed out the game.

Skyridge senior guard Teagan Gray goes up for a shot during the non-region game against Springville in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

Red Devil head coach Holli Averett said she saw glimpses of what her team can become but far too many mistakes to be successful.

“We have to get back to being the gritty team we have been in the last few years,” Averett said. “We have a lot of work to do, but you don’t get better unless you play the best.”

Both Averett and Nielsen said facing a different type of pressure in just the second game of the year will pay dividends down the road.

“We face our press every day in practice, but not against man pressure,” Nielsen said. “Teagan and Cambree are great ball-handlers and composed leaders, so they can get the ball and run it. But this also shows us what we need to work on. It shows us everyone who can handle that pressure.”

Averett said: “We have played Skyridge and know what they do, but they do it differently than we do. They are really good at that type of defense. We have to be more confident. Now we can point those things out so we’re not making as many mistakes.”

Skyridge senior guard Teagan Gray goes up for a shot during the non-region game against Springville in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

Gray said the Falcons know they will face a lot of different pressure defenses down the road.

“This prepares us for region, where teams will press us,” Gray said. “It shows the handling skills we need and that will get us ready.”

Both teams also said the biggest thing moving forward is to improve the consistency, to develop more cohesion.

“We are starting to learn to come together,” Gray said. “It’s important for us to communicate more on defense and also be able to figure out where everyone is going to be.”

Skyridge (2-0) next plays at Bingham on Dec. 7, while Springville (0-2) will look to get its first win when it plays at Brighton on Dec. 2.

Springville junior guard Brooke Pennington drives into the lane during the non-region game against Skyridge in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Skyridge freshman Bella Sika goes up for a layup during the non-region game against Springville in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

Springville guard Madi Galbraith drives to the basket Springville junior guard Brooke Pennington drives into the lane during the non-region game against Skyridge in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

Skyridge and Springville players fight for the ball during the non-region game in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

Springville junior guard Ellie Esplin shoots a 3-pointer during the non-region game against Skyridge in Lehi on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

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