Friday , February 16, 2018 - 9:39 PM
WASHINGTON TERRACE — Many names on Bonneville’s girls basketball roster are familiar to its sports fans.
Seniors Saydee Larsen, Talia Afuvai and Mikaela Johnson have been through their share of ups and downs. Ashley Croyle, Karly Conolly and Carrigan Sanders were members of the soccer team that went to the 4A state final last fall.
But this is a young team, also putting on the court junior Katelyn Gonzales, sophomores Jenna Czarnecki, Annie Degroot, Taijanai Galvez and Ginny Jenkins, as well as freshmen Lily Hall, Mia Jensen, Mikelle Burdett, Brecklyn Noble and Dari Moyes.
Combined, this group of girls is something else — Region 11 champions.
Completing a campaign where they went from worst to first, the Lakers captured a No. 1 seed for the upcoming 4A state tournament with a 40-30 victory over Tooele on Friday evening.
“If I could pinpoint one thing, it would be the work ethic in the offseason and the leadership of our seniors,” Bonneville coach Ty Dunyon said. “They had the offseason to either put the time in and get better or not.”
Bonneville (16-5, 11-1 Region 11) started down the same path this year, opening the season 1-4 against a tough preseason schedule after going 1-19 in 2016-17.
“After our loss to Highland, the next practice we sat down and said what we wanted to be, to achieve, to accomplish,” Dunyon said. “I wrote region champs on the board. Everyone does that, but the very next practice we got after it. That practice changed our mentality. We hustled, we ran; there was no rest. There was a lot of high energy.”
The Lakers went on a 14-game winning streak that ended with a loss to Stansbury on Tuesday.
“I think losing can become a habit like winning can and when we lost like we did last year, we became comfortable with it. When we won 14 in a row, we didn’t become complacent but maybe we became comfortable,” Dunyon said.
“I never or doubted, but as a coach, when you have that much success, and players think about it as well — teams are gunning for you. The bullseye gets bigger and bigger every win.”
Things did not look good early Friday for the Lakers, as they fell behind 11-2 in the second quarter and didn’t score their first field goal until an Afuvai jumper from the right angle with 5:12 left in the half.
Conolly — who scored the winning goal in the semifinal soccer match last November — was clutch again, coming off the bench to score six of her 11 points in the final 3:15 of the second quarter to help tie the game at 18 heading into the locker room. She also added seven rebounds.
“I feel like when I sit on the bench, I can watch this person does this or that, to see their tendencies, so I can bring a spark and get my team pumped; to have that energy and help my team do better,” Conolly said.
Tooele (13-8, 9-3) scored the initial basket of the second half, but Afuvai answered with five straight points to give the Lakers their first lead on a basket and one at the 6:06 mark of the third quarter. Afuvia scored nine points in the period, 13 overall, and grabbed six rebounds for the game.
“It wasn’t clicking at first but come the third quarter we figured it out. Coming in tied, it’s like 0-0 all over again. We just made the extra pass and got everyone involved in the third quarter,” Afuvai said.
Larsen scored all four of her points in the fourth quarter on a bucket and two free throws. She added seven assists and six steals. Johnson netted six points and six boards.
With the Region 11 title in tow, girls one through 16 are poised to make some noise in the upcoming 4A tournament.
Bonneville will host the four-seed from Region 10 in the first round Friday, Feb. 23.
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