Copper Hills girls basketball rolling along, looking like favorites in 6AFeb 09, 2024 04:17PM ● By Josh McFadden
Senior wing player Ellie Taylor paces the Grizzlies with 17.2 points per game. She also grabs 4.6 rebounds an outing and is near the top of all players in the state with an average of 3.4 steals a contest.
As January moves to February, it’s time for prep girls basketball teams to start thinking about the state tournament.
It’s right around the corner, and the Copper Hills girls looked primed for a deep run.
By the end of January, the Grizzlies had amassed a glossy 17-1 record and a 4-1 mark in Region 2. The team’s only defeat came at the hands of Corner Canyon, a 52-48 loss on the road Jan. 18. Other than that, the Grizzlies haven’t just won, but they’ve been dominant. Copper Hills’ four region wins through the first have of league play were each by double digits, with two of them being by at least 23 points (50-25 over Riverton on Jan. 23 and 57-34 at Herriman on Jan. 25). In fact, through 18 games, the Grizzlies had won 11 games by at least 20 points and three games by at least 30 points. Copper Hills outscored its opponents by an average of 57.4 to 37.4, one of the biggest disparities in the state.
As February began, Copper Hills was No. 1 in the RPI rankings. Barring an unexpected collapse in March, the Grizzlies should secure a first-round bye and second-round home game in the state tournament. The Class 6A playoffs start Feb. 20, with the second round taking place Feb. 22. The first two rounds will be on the home courts of higher-seeded teams, while the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals take place at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the campus of the University of Utah.
Copper Hills has had some standout performers this season.
Two players are averaging more than 15 points per game, with senior wing player Ellie Taylor pacing the Grizzlies with 17.2 points per game. She also grabs 4.6 rebounds an outing and is near the top of all players in the state with an average of 3.4 steals a contest. Taylor scored in double figures in all but two of the Grizzlies’ first 18 games. Her season-high through the end of January was 28 points at Lone Peak on Dec. 12. She also had 45 three-pointers during this stretch, with a single-game high of five against Cyprus in a blowout win Jan. 2. Taylor nearly had a triple-double Dec. 18 at Woods Cross when she scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds and recorded eight steals.
Junior guard Skylie Barker scores 15.2 points a game and had a season-best 24 points at Westlake on Nov. 28. She’s the best rebounder on the team with an average of 7.9 a game. Barker had six double-doubles (points and rebounds) through the first 18 games and had a season-high 16 rebounds in the loss at Corner Canyon. Barker also paces the team with 3.8 assists a game. She even averages 1.1 blocks a game, second on the team to Taylor’s 1.7.
Junior guard Ayla Marston and junior post player Aspen Fraser average 8.5 and 6.4 points per game, respectively to lend good support to their teammates. Other contributors have included Taylor Johnson, Alyssa Loza and Avery Norman, among others.
Copper Hills finishes the regular season at home against Herriman Feb. 15. The Grizzlies will then look to surpass last season’s playoff run in which they had a quick second-exit after losing to Syracuse. λ