When Lone Peak head girls basketball coach Nancy Warner looked across at the opposing bench Friday night, she couldn’t help have some good memories.
The Knights were playing at Springville, where Holli Averett — who played under Warner’s guidance as a Red Devil — is now the head coach.
“Having Holli coaching makes me proud,” Warner said. “It’s great to see her and the job she is doing. It’s fun to watch. Springville will always have a special place in my heart. I cherish the relationships I have here.”
For her part, Averett said she is grateful to have a coach like Warner as a mentor.
“I love Nancy,” Averett said. “I have so much respect for her. She is someone I look up to because she is a great coach. I want to be like her.”
That connection might mean a lot to both coaches but on this night, it would be the mentor who was able to lead her team to victory.
The Knights used a big run to start the second half to open up some separation, then held off every Red Devil response to get the 46-43 victory in the hard-fought nonregion contest.
“I loved the intensity and the heart we showed out there,” Warner said. “We were able to make some adjustments in this game and I feel like the team responded. We stuck with it, even when things didn’t go our way. We kept working together until the very end.”
She explained that the key during that sequence was taking advantages of opportunities that had slipped away during the first 16 minutes of play.
“In the first half, we were missing layups and shots at the rim,” Warner said. “I told them at halftime that was something that wasn’t going our way. When we started finishing those, it helped us settle in more on both offense and defense.”
Averett said she felt her girls, particularly her younger guards, had some moments where the excitement of the game carried them away a little bit.
“They had some adrenaline and they were feeling it,” Averett said. “It took us some time to get calmed down and knock down some shots. We gave up some turnovers and offensive rebounds as well. But we kept battling until the buzzer.”
She added that she was very pleased with how her squad competed until the final whistle.
“We played hard,” Averett said. “Lone Peak is a great team with good guards and post players. When they set screens, it’s tough to know whether to go over or under. We did pretty well overall, although we had some lapses. Lone Peak just executed better.”
A big three-pointer by Springville Senior guard Kayla Jackson cut Lone peak’s advantage to just two points in the final seconds, but Knight sophomore guard Kailey Woolston calmly made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
“That’s what you’ve got to do in tight situations,” Warner said. “She was able to step up their confidently and hit them. I was proud of her.”
The Knights ended up with three players in double digits: guards Makeili Ika and Teulia Nawahine (whose older sister Malia won a state title as a Red Devil) both scored 12 points while Woolston added 10.
Jackson scored 19 points to pace the Red Devils, while senior forward Addie Johnson added 13.
It’s still early in the season, so both teams have plenty of areas they want to improve on.
“Every day is about trying to really fine tune and clean up the little things,” Warner said. “These girls have talent and ability. We’re trying to build as a unit and getting everything working together.”
Averett said: “We are still looking to have a complete game. We have great quarters but we need to focus and play the whole game that way. We also need our guards to settle in and hit more shots.”
Lone Peak (3-1) will next host Copper Hills on Dec. 15, while Springville (2-1) welcomes Timpview to Springville on the same evening.
Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.