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No. 1 Skyline tops depleted T-Wolves

SHARE No. 1 Skyline tops depleted T-Wolves

TAYLORSVILLE — Walking into the locker room at Salt Lake Community College for the 5A quarterfinals Wednesday, the Skyline girls basketball team was flooded with emotion.

"It felt like coming home," said Eagles head coach Deb Bennett after the defending 5A champs defeated a depleted Timpanogos squad 58-38 to earn a berth in the semifinals on Friday against Davis High. "It was filled with all of those good feelings — accolades, empowerment — that gave us a boost tonight."

That lift carried Skyline past a T-Wolves team that was missing its leading scorer. Senior forward Amy Weitzeil broke her hand in Tuesday's opening-round game against Kearns. Additionally, the team's second leading scorer, Cali Nelson, played with an injured shoulder.

Melissa Brown led the T-Wolves with nine points and six rebounds. Stacy Bartholomew, Jennifer Nielsen and Collette Covey each added six points in the effort.

While Skyline players and coaches were relieved they didn't have to face Weitzeil, they felt badly for the senior who had to watch from the bench.

"We didn't realize until we left school that Weitzeil was injured," Bennett said. "To have an injury to one of your key players like that is devastating."

The remaining T-Wolves played well, but they were undermanned against the offensively loaded Eagles. Led by Dani Peterson, who scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and blocked four shots, the Eagles led from the start and never looked back.

"We tried dwelling on the good," said Peterson of the team's return to the place of last year's title win. "The last time we were here we had so many good feelings."

Peterson said it is frustrating to play against a double and triple team at times, but she knows her teammates can make up for anything a defense takes from her.

"Some games are tougher mentally," she said. "I know I can kick it out, like tonight, Liz (Johnson) hit some big threes. We have a lot of players who can score. You can't just shut one of us down and beat us. I know someone on the team will always be open."

Despite the Eagles' double-digit lead for most of the game, Bennett said she never felt the game was in the bag.

"I am never comfortable," she said, "until that last four minutes when I figure it's mathematically impossible for them to come back."

That's when the Eagles coach began to sub liberally, a move that thrilled her starters.

"Eighteen players," she said with a smile. "That's the most I've ever played."

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com