As new season starts, Copper Hills girls basketball has high hopesNov 30, 2023 01:11PM ● By Josh McFadden
Ellie Taylor, a senior who has already signed to play at Utah Tech next season, led the team in scoring last season with 16.1 points per game. (File photo City Journals)
The Copper Hills girls basketball team is in a new region this year, but the Grizzlies’ goals are the same: compete in region and state.
The Grizzlies move from Region 3 to Region 2, though most of the opponents are the same. Mountain Ridge, Herriman, Riverton and Bingham have joined the Grizzlies in Region 2. Corner Canyon is also in the region with Copper Hills, while West Jordan has relocated to Class 5A’s Region 4.
Last season, Copper Hills was 17-7 overall and 7-3 in league play, finishing in third place. The Grizzlies lost in the second round of the Class 6A state tournament. With the 2023–24 season tipping off, head coach Jake Timpson’s expectations are simple but lofty.
“We expect to compete with some of the best teams in the state,” he said. “Our goals are to win a region championship and make it far in state playoffs.”
Capturing the Region 2 crown won’t be easy. The competition should be fierce every game.
“We have a really tough schedule,” Timpson said. “We play some really talented teams. This group will have to learn to handle adversity and keep on fighting even when things aren't going our way.”
The Grizzlies opened the season Nov. 16 at Skyline. Copper Hills also hosted American Fork on Nov. 20. Other non-region teams on the schedule include Westlake (Nov. 28), Layton (Nov. 30) and Skyridge (Dec. 5). On Dec. 19–22. Copper Hills will take part in the California Tournament where they will face some talented out-of-state foes. On Jan. 5, the Grizzlies host Fremont, a perennial state power. Region play begins Jan. 11 when the Grizzlies play at Bingham.
Copper Hills will rely heavily on its defense, a side of the ball where Timpson believes the team will excel. He also said the Grizzlies need to get better with rebounding and become a little tougher.
A host of seniors will lead the Grizzlies this season. Ellie Taylor, Ayla Marston and Skylie Barker are three of the top players on the roster. Taylor, a senior who has already signed to play at Utah Tech next season, led the team in scoring last season with 16.1 points per game. She also pulled down 3.8 rebounds a contest and hit 45 three-pointers. Barker, a junior, was second on the team in scoring a season ago with 11.8 points per game. She also averaged 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists an outing. Marston, also a junior, scored at a clip of 5.5 points per contest in 2022–23 and led the team with 5.1 rebounds per game.
“[Taylor] is one of the best players in the state both offensively and defensively,” Timpson said. “[Barker] is one of the most unselfish players in the state. She can defend, she can score, she can rebound. [Marston] is looking to have a breakout year. She’s a hard-working girl that has put in a lot of time on her game this offseason. The seniors are important leaders and each of them bring something that helps this team.”
Timpson is fortunate not only to work with great players but great young women, too. He loves coaching this group.
“These are all high-character girls that are a joy to be around every day,” he said. “They work hard, they are coachable and they are great students.” λ