Every team in Region 7 knew that it would be a bloodbath once region play started, although Salem Hills was rolling with eight wins in a row and spent the entirety of December without a loss.
However, the wind came out of its sails when Salem Hills lost to Maple Mountain last week in its first region game.
The SkyHawks have quickly found their footing again, though. Salem Hills has now earned consecutive wins this week, as it first beat Timpview on Tuesday and then topped Spanish Fork 56-45 on the road Friday night.
“You just got to keep going,” said Salem Hills head coach Taylor Jones. “You’re going to make some mistakes ‘cause we’re playing such good teams and we’ve got to fight no matter what.
“We lost our first region game after we had won eight in a row, and we didn’t skip a beat with it, so we’re doing really well right now and I’m proud of them.”
While it never led by more than eight in the first half Friday, Salem Hills held its advantage throughout for a 25-21 halftime score.
SkyHawks junior Brooke Warren showed off her shooting with 11 points in the second quarter, with one shot from behind the arc.
For the night, Warren led in scoring with 19 points, while also grabbing six rebounds and four steals.
The momentum seemed to swing in favor of Spanish Fork in the second half when Gracyn Cook had two quick steals and layups to help the Dons take their first lead at 27-26.
The Spanish Fork lead only lasted a few seconds, though, and Salem Hills made sure the Dons never took the lead again.
The SkyHawks quickly found Hattie Parkinson and Briana Frampton on the outside for 3-pointers and retook a 36-31 lead after the third quarter.
“Spanish Fork is one of our rivals, so I really wanted to win when we came into it,” said Warren. “Then they made a couple of runs and I was worried, ‘Oh, no, they’re coming back,’ but we just fought through the adversity, and we came out with a win.
“I felt that we had some calls that didn’t go our way so I got a little frustrated, but we just had to stay calm. They had a couple of tall girls, so we just had to adjust to when they got the ball in the post.”
Jones knew his players would bounce back after losing the lead, as he says it’s something they’ve been focusing on all year.
“Our motto is ‘All in,’ so we talked even before the game about how we’re going to go through adversity, and we know that we need to respond to it,” he said. “My girls have just been so tough.
“We had a rough year last year and we learned a lot from it and we talked about all kinds of being resilient and going through adversity and we knew that they were going to make a run here.”
Salem Hills continued to show its resilience by pouring on 20 points in the fourth quarter to secure the 56-45 road win.
“(Spanish Fork) is a tough place to play,” said Jones. “I played here in high school and it’s such a tough place so it’s good to get a couple of tough wins over very good region opponents and I’m proud of my girls and how they played.”