Surrounding the Lady Wasps only three seniors last year with juniors, has given third-year head coach Thom Perkins a lot of senior leadership. That will have to pay dividends for Wasatch as they head into play in Region 8, Class 4A.
“We’re a little smaller this year, for sure,” stated Perkins. “But we’ve got a lot of girls who put in a lot of minutes last season. I believe that will help us quite a bit once we get rolling and into region play.”
Senior Hailee Hardman believes if the girls rely on their experience of playing together a lot the past few years, they will have success. “We all know each other pretty well,” said the co-captain. “It will be a much more well-rounded team this year. Not relying so much on one or two players, but looking to have a different player step-up every night.”
Hardman was referring to All-State guard Rebecca MaWhinney who has since graduated and took her 2O points per game average with her. The best part of that was that MaWhinney was one of only three seniors last year giving her junior teammates a lot of playing time.
Seniors Heather Evans, Sadie Sweat, Katelyn Mathis and Tristen Bills will all be counted on to spread the ball and create a fast-paced game plan that Perkins must use with a line-up heavy in guards.
“We’ll use a lot of full-court press and rely on man-to-man quickness to create turnovers and get the ball into transition,” Perkins explained. “I like our girls right now, but we’ve got some injuries early on that we’ll have to get over pretty quick to be at full-strength.”
Sweat, who is fresh off the soccer field, is quick to point out her team’s hard work in practice. “If we do the little things that we’ve been working on in practice, we’ll be fine,” she said. “We’ve been playing together a lot of years, so we should know each others tendencies by now.”
Bills, reiterated that by adding, “We’re a close-knit team. We’re a little short on bigs (meaning taller, post players), but we’ve got good shooters and ball handlers.”
Junior Alexa Hayter steps into a big role on this year’s team as co-captain with Hardman. “With most of us being seniors, and only three of us being juniors, it’ll be important for us to help the younger girls learn the system when they get in there,” she said. Hayter will get a lot of guard play with junior Ashlynn Coleman still out with an injury she suffered in soccer.
“We’ll miss Ashlynn for the time being,” added Perkins. “But we’ve got plenty of guards to step-in and fill the void until then.”
The season will be a challenge for the Lady Wasps, especially moving into 4A, but by the positive attitudes of the seniors, they’re not shying away from the challenge.
“It’s going to be a fun season,” said Bills. “If the bench improves and we gel out there like we know we can, we’ll win some games.”
The girls play their first game of the season next Tuesday, November 26 as they travel to Mountain View. “We had them here last year,” remembered Perkins. “We gave the game away at the end. I think we match up good with them again this time. We lost our top player, they lost theirs… so it’s time for the new kids to step-in and take over.”