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JDHCS girls basketball reloading on court

Feb 01, 2018 11:07AM ● Published by Catherine Garrett

Juan Diego's girls basketball team returned to the court to defend its state title with a young team and are currently 7-7 on the season.

The Juan Diego Catholic High School girls basketball team has won two of the last three state championships, but are now in a bit of a rebuilding mode. At press deadline, the Soaring Eagle squad was 7-9 and riding a three-game winning streak.

“We are a very young team this year,” head coach Ashley McKray said. “I start three sophomores, and the youth shows up from time to time during games.” 

Sophomore Laulea Tavake averages a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds a game, while her sister Eva Tavake adds six points and five rebounds as well.

“They are huge for us,” McKray said. “They love the game of basketball and enjoy playing each and every game. They are ultra-competitive and hate losing. They bring energy and excitement to the court.”

Sophomore Kiely Rasmussen leads Juan Diego in scoring with just over 11 points a game. The point guard has put in 26 3-pointers so far this year.

“Kiely is a great shooter and ball handler for us,” McKray said. “She doesn’t seem to run out of energy and keeps fighting until the end.”

McKray also noted the contributions of senior Kallie Craig, who brings an average of four points and four boards a game to the team.

“Kallie is a motivator and a fighter for us,” McKray said. “What she does for our team doesn’t always show up in the stats, but she is invaluable to our team.”

Others on the 2017–18 squad include junior Lindsey Holly; sophomores Brianna Ahlstrom, Marissa Butkovich, Maya Sherrell, Lauren Anderson, Aranza Tellez, Alexis Hosking, Alexis Dooley, Dana Alcala and Autumn Price; and freshmen Cierra Turner, Melissa Malanga, Cassidy Azarcon, Ilene Magana, Hailey Carlson, Brooke Smalls, Ahea Tavake, Eliana Moreno, Sam Griffis, Isabelle Alamilla, Sophia Lopez, Fernanda Duenas, Vanessa Zavala, Elizabeth Hardin and Paola Severo.

Juan Diego began the year with a 48-43 win over North Sevier Nov. 21 and have also defeated Hunter 41-28 (Nov. 28), Desert Hills 40-34 (Dec. 2), South Sevier 34-30 (Dec. 16), Ogden 43-35 (Jan. 4), Park City 45-26 (Jan. 9) and Ben Lomond 45-38 (Jan. 11), with losses to Snow Canyon 54-39 (Nov. 30), Hurricane 40-35 (Dec. 1), Richfield 43-29 (Dec. 15), Ridgeline 44-33 (Dec. 19), Summit Academy 49-28 (Dec. 29), Judge Memorial 54-48 (Dec. 30) and Bonneville 58-38 (Jan. 3).

“We have set some measurable goals for us with stats, and if we can achieve those then the wins and losses will work themselves out,” McKray said. “For example, our tallest player is five-foot-eight so we have set a goal to try and out-rebound our opponent by three rebounds a game. If we meet our goals, then it will show a lot of growth on our part.”

McKray is being assisted by Amie Thaxton, Adam Cochran, Kevin Wilson and Jonathan Schrieber

“The girls work extremely hard and compete each game, so who knows what’s in store?”   McKray said.

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