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West Jordan Journal

Timpson reflects on Copper Hills girls basketball team’s fabulous season

Apr 12, 2024 02:52PM ● By Josh McFadden

The Copper Hills girls basketball game wrapped up a highly successful season with a loss to Lone Peak in the Class 6A state championship game. (Photo courtesy of Jake Timpson

Few teams in high school sports will end the season with a victory, meaning most schools experience some heartbreak and disappointment as the year comes to a close. 

The Copper Hills girls basketball had a range of emotions in the final weeks of the 2023–24 campaign. 

Copper Hills put together a memorable season, going 25-2 and finishing with a 9-1 record in Region 2, claiming the league title by a full three games. The Grizzlies marched through the Class 6A state tournament to the finals where the team ran into an excellent Lone Peak squad, falling 65-47. 

It was a tough way to end an otherwise remarkable season. 

“Making the state championship was a huge accomplishment,” head coach Jake Timpson said. “I would guess that most teams around the state didn't think we were capable of that. But honestly, we had been talking about making the championship last spring. We knew we had the talent to do it, and we just need to stick together and play our style of basketball. It was a huge deal for our school and community. We had tremendous support from students, faculty and administration.”

The Grizzlies got to the title game with blowout wins over Weber, 69-21, and Mountain Ridge, 49-31 (their third win on the year over the Sentinels). A 52-45 victory over Skyridge in the semifinals earned the team a berth in the championship for the second time in six seasons. Copper Hills lost in the 5A championship to Bingham in 2019. 

“We got to the championship game by playing really good defense,” Timpson said. “That was our calling card all year. We have some great defenders on our team, and we leaned on our defense during the tournament. We did a really good job this season playing as a team. We had two girls in the top four in assists in 6A.”

For the top prize against Lone Peak, Copper Hills struggled much of the game on both ends of the court. The Grizzles shot just 33% from the floor and made just four three-pointers to 11 for Lone Peak. 

“I don't think we played our best basketball in that game, obviously,” Timpson said. “Lone Peak is a great team with great players, but we didn't do enough to contest their three-point shooting. We also gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. If you don't play great defense and rebound, then it’s going to be really hard to win a championship game.”

Ellie Taylor paced the Grizzlies in scoring with 18 points and hit three shots from behind the three-point line. She also had five steals. Skylie Barker had 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds. 

After the game, Timpson didn’t dwell on the loss. Instead, he focused on the positive and expressed his gratitude to his players for everything they gave to the program this season. 

“After the game, I just took time to thank the seniors for all their hard work and dedication to the program,” he said. “I told them I was proud of what they had accomplished. We had the most wins in school history, and that is something to be proud of.”

Copper Hills outscored its opponents this season 57-38. The Grizzlies had one of the top defensive units in the state. Of the team’s 25 wins, 22 were by double digits. Individually, Taylor and Barker were a formidable one-two punch. Taylor led the team with 16.8 points per game, while Barker was right behind with a scoring average of 16.2 an outing. Barker was the leading rebounding with 7.4 a game, and Taylor led the way with 3.2 assists per game and 2.1 three-pointers a contest. Ayla Marston chipped in 8.2 points per contest and had the second-best rebounding average with 7.3 boards a game. Her 3.9 assist per game was tops on the team. 

Timpson has a big job next season to replace Taylor. 

In addition to Taylor, five other seniors will graduate this year, leaving spots to fill in lineup for the Grizzlies. The good news is, Marston and Barker are just juniors. Also returning will be Aspen Fraser, who scored 5.6 points a game. 

“It’s going to be hard replacing our seniors,” Timpson said. “They were a tremendous part of our success this season. Despite the losses, we have four starters returning next season, and they are very eager to continue the success we had this last season. It'll be fun to watch them play and grow into new roles they will play this season.”

Despite coming up just short to bring the school its first-ever girls basketball state championship, there is plenty to be happy about with this season. Timpson will fondly remember this season and this group of girls for years to come. He is grateful, in particular, for his senior class and will miss coaching those hardworking, dedicated girls.

“I will remember all the fun times we had together—all the work we did starting last spring to get to this point,” he said. “I will remember all the fun I had with the seniors that I’ve been coaching the last four years. It’s going to be really sad not having them around anymore.”

The Grizzlies will regroup, and the returning players will be back together in November for the 2024–25 season. Based on who’s coming back, there’s no reason to believe Copper Hills won’t be a contender once again. λ