High school girls basketball: Skyline’s Cinderella story continues with 5A semifinal win over Timpview

On the opening night of Skylines season it was dominated 67-20 by Timpview. However, the Eagles got the last laugh by eliminating Timpview and advancing to the 5A semifinals with a 58-46 victory.

It has been a shocking postseason for Skyline, who sit in the final four after starting the season with eight losses in their first 10 games.

But since the start of the postseason No. 22 seed Skyline has upset No. 11 seed Olympus, No. 6 seed Payson, and now No. 3 seed Timpview.  

“We’ve played some of the best teams,” said Skyline head coach Sam White.

“Olympus’s coach (Whitney Jenkins) makes me work so hard, they beat us twice during the season and we drew them during the first round. Payson is so well coached and physical, and (Timpview) beat us by 47 in the first game of the season.

“Timpview is always at the top, and you can always expect them to play so tough.

The fact that we got through three opponents is amazing, it feels great, and this is the furthest the girls or I have been so we’re just excited for what comes next.”

Things were going Skylines way early, great ball movement and tough defense earned the Eagles a 12-5 lead after the first quarter.

In the second quarter Timpview’s Natalia Ballin hit back-to-back 3-pointers to bring her team back within one.

The Thunderbirds scored 19 in the second quarter, trialing 24-27 at half.

Defense was a clear emphasis for Skyline coming into the second half. The Eagles executed and started the half on a 11-0 run and held Timpview to seven points in the quarter.

“We’ve been working on it all year. Obviously, our defense wasn’t great at the beginning of the year but its slowly gotten better,” said White.

“It’s one of those things that you can work on every single day. For us we play Tuesday and Fridays so Wednesdays are our hard days, we call it ‘Work Wednesday’.

That’s when we get really nitty gritty into our defense stuff and really push the limits. The girls have been good, they really bought in, believed in it, and they’ve seen the results when you play tough defense.”

The 11-0 Skyline run was supported by Skyline’s Tina Njike. Njike scored six straight in the third and had 11 in the half. She finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks.

“It honestly feels really good because our season was a little bit rough at the beginning. But, since the playoffs I feel like we’re moving upwards and we’ve been making all the shots were supposed to make,” said Njike.

“All of us are really excited because nobody was really expecting us to even make it past the first round. So, being able to beat Timpview when we lost by 47 points before feels amazing.”

Njike has been a major asset for Skyline all-year, leading her team this season in scoring and rebounds.

“She just creates so much gravity,” said White.

“So even in games when she might not score as much or doesn’t get a full stat sheet teams have to put two or three people on her. So, her other teammates are going to be open and others are going to get opportunities.”

Skyline held on to its 12 point lead through the fourth, securing the game and a 5A semifinal spot.

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