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Larry H. Miller Week 26 high school star athletes of the week

Boys Basketball

Luke Justice, Emery (Sr.)

Emery has enjoyed a terrific year with 16 wins so far, including three straight heading into the final week of the regular season, and the steady play throughout from Luke Justice has been one of the catalysts.

The senior is averaging a team-high 17.1 points to go along with his 2.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the 16-5 Spartans.

Last week he record 16 points and five assists in a big 59-57 victory over Manti, and then followed it up with a dozen points a few nights later against Canyon View during his team’s 63-38 win.

“Luke always goes the extra mile for our team. Whether it’s getting up extra shots after practice, cheering on his teammates, or being a leader on the court. His attitude and work ethic are huge part of our success this year,” said Emery coach Dave Justice.

Luke Justice led Emery in scoring a year ago as a junior and was named a Deseret News 3A all-state honorable mention.

Girls Basketball

Amelia Echternkamp, Cyprus (Sr.)

Amelia Echternkamp is coming off two of her best games of the season, a big reason Cyprus sits alone at the top of Region 4 heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

The senior scored 27 points and knocked down three 3-pointers as Cyprus edged West Jordan 72-70 in a key region clash. In the previous region game against West Jordan, Echternkamp was held to just six points in a 76-61 loss, but made up for it in a big way in the rematch.

“Amelia can score with anyone in the state. She has the ability to shoot but doesn’t rely on her jump shot. Amelia can get downhill with the best of them. She gets to the line and shoots a high percentage from the stripe. She’s an offensive weapon for sure,” said Cyprus coach Justin Hassell.

So far this season, Echternkamp is averaging 16.2 ppg, good enough for eighth in 6A. Earlier this season she went over 1,000 career points, and is currently at 1,170 career points in four seasons competing in varsity for the Pirates.

Boys Swimming

Mason Hemmert, Skyridge (Jr.)

Skyridge junior Mason Hemmert won a pair of individual region titles last week, in addition to a pair of relay titles, to lead Skyridge to the Region 3 title last weekend.

Hemmert won both the 100 freestyle (47.87) and 200 freestyle (1:45.38), and then anchored the 200 and 400 free relays for the Falcons.

“Mason is a Junior and one of the leaders on the Skyridge swim team,” said Skyridge coach Matt Cox. “He took a huge leap as a sophomore and started to anchor the medley and 400 freestyle relays. Over the last year he has embodied the spirit of the team and the example set by the seniors of hard work, dedication and putting the team first. Mason always cares about the well being of the team and the other swimmers. His work ethic and competitive drive has paid off tremendously.”

Hemmert’s time in the 100 free ranks as the seventh fastest in Utah this high school season. His 200 free time at region was just .15 seconds slower than his season high earlier in the year, which ranks sixth in the state.

Girls Swimming

Addison Taylor, Cedar (Sr.)

Senior Addison Taylor was instrumental in leading the Cedar girls swim team to a second straight Region 9 championship last weekend.

Individually, Taylor recorded a first- and third-place finish, and then she played a key role in a pair of runner-up relay finishes as the Reds beat Crimson Cliffs by 59 points for the team title.

Taylor’s individual win came in the 100 freestyle as she posted a new season-high of 56.76, the 10th-best mark in 4A this season.

Earlier in the meet she finished third in the 200 free with a time 2:03.37, which ranks 11th in 4A this season.

“Addison Taylor is wonderful team captain who continues to perform at a high level with the Cedar High swim team. She is dedicated to her conditioning and performance and it showed during the region swim tournament,” said Cedar coach Megan Moses, who said Taylor swam her best time in both relays. “The state meet is coming up, I’m looking forward to see what she will accomplish there.”

Boys Wrestling

Easton Connelly, Box Elder (Jr.)

Easton Connelly has been one of the keys to Box Elder’s success throughout the season, and he played a big role in the Bees claiming the 5A Divisional B title in the state-qualifying meet at Uintah High School last weekend.

The junior won four matches to advance to the final of the 157-pound bracket, but he ended up finishing second because of a medical forfeit due to a concussion. His coach said he should be good to compete in the 5A state wrestling tournament next week, where Connelly will look to build on his 25-12 record this season with more victories.

“Easton is a huge part of our team. He does a great job of tuning out all of the ‘noise.’ He just goes out and gives his best every match,” said Box Elder coach Jed Craner about his wrestler who’s only been competing for two years.

Girls Wrestling

Addilyn Baxter, Mountain Crest (Jr.)

Addilyn Baxter is peaking at the right time with the state tournament just around the corner.

The Mountain Crest junior upset the No. 1 seed in her 100-pound bracket of the 4A Divisional A state-qualifying meet last week at Ridgeline High School.

Baxter pinned all three of her opponents en route to the individual title as she improved to 24-10 on the season. It was her first tournament victory of the season.

“She pinned every one of her opponents in the tournament. She worked so hard in the off-season to improve her wrestling skills and it has definitely been evident this season. Addi has made huge progress and it has been so fun to see her hard work pay off,” said Mountain Crest coach Susan Dart.

Baxter finished fifth at state as a sophomore last year, and she’s poised to improve upon that finish at this year’s 4A state tournament at UVU next week.

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