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Davis Journal

Bountiful girls basketball defends 5A state title in dominating fashion

Mar 07, 2024 03:28PM ● By Catherine Garrett

In last year’s 5A state girls basketball game, the Bountiful High squad battled Springville to the very end before freshman guard Milika Satuala scored the eventual game-winning layup with 16 seconds left on the clock. This year’s state title game was the complete opposite where the result was never in doubt. From the opening tip March 1, the Redhawks dominated Wasatch – outscoring the Wasps 17-0 in the first quarter – in a 62-35 win to stay on top of the 5A ranks for the second year in a row, bringing home its fourth girls basketball championship in school history.

“To be able to go back-to-back, it’s a dream,” said head coach Joel Burton. “As we started the year, as coaches, we sat down and we felt like we could put together a team that would be pretty darn competitive and give us a chance.”

Bountiful was up 29-7 at half after holding Wasatch to 5 percent shooting through the first 16 minutes of play. “We didn’t have much to address at halftime, so we just talked about how we needed to keep going as we couldn’t afford to let down,” Burton said. “We knew that all it was going to take is a few minutes of us letting down and all of a sudden it’s a different game. The message was to keep going.”

The Redhawks were led by 5A tournament Most Valuable Player junior forward Taylor Harvey with 24 points, eight rebounds, six blocks, four steals and three assists while Satuala, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, added 19 points and eight rebounds.

“We are very blessed to have two of the very best players in the state,” Burton said. “Taylor and Milika have carried a huge load all year. There’s been games we’ve had hardly a point from anyone else ‘cause those two had to carry such a huge chunk at times ‘til our kids started to grow up.”

Also coming up big in the championship game was junior center Mae Johnson who limited the Wasps’ leading scorer Ashley Garner to just nine points, half of her usual average, while also scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Johnson was also named to the All-Tournament squad. “Mae doesn’t get enough credit,” Burton said. “She leads us in rebounds most games and she gives everything she has on the defensive end.”

“We start practice every day with defensive stuff so we came into the championship with a good game plan of how to shut them down and we were good at it,” Burton said of his squad who held the Wasps to 17 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers. “With several minutes left in the fourth quarter, my assistant Tony Harvey told me to just come and sit down and enjoy the moment. It was really special to have some good talks and just be laughing with the kids, especially knowing the battles we had where we just had to keep plugging away to find a way to get it done.”

Bountiful’s 5A championship run as the top seed began with a 67-54 win over Viewmont Feb. 22 in the second round followed by a 62-30 victory against Brighton in the quarterfinals Feb. 24. A 61-53 win over Box Elder Feb. 27 in the semis set up the Redhawks/Wasps showdown for the trophy.

Harvey and Satuala combined for 36 points a game this season while they, along with Johnson, all recorded seven rebounds a game for the 24-3 Bountiful squad. Sophomore guard Adelaide Stevenson averaged three assists per game as well – including six in the state title game – along with her seven points a game with another key piece for the Redhawks this year in junior point guard Isabeau Hoff, who was inserted into the starting lineup during region play. “Isabeau doesn’t get a lot of publicity, but she really stepped up to the plate and did a lot of good things for us,” Burton said. 

Freshman guard Maleah Nelson also added six points a game on the year to help Bountiful offensively.

Also on the BHS team that finished the season winning its final 20 games were senior Sila Tuakoi; juniors Anna Larson and Abby Orme; sophomores Adeline Amisone, Olivia Brizendine, Caroline Cannon, Brook Dodge, Charlotte Johnson, Abrielle Kattelman, Quincy Miller, Aimee Moore and Raquel Schiess; and freshmen Brynna Castleton, Mia Loya, Carlie Neilsen and Faith Nixon.

Burton was assisted on the coaching staff this season by Tony Harvey, Kendal Ludwig and Mary Jolly.

“My staff has been unreal,” Burton said. “They’re the best staff in the state and they’re fun to work with. We could be having a pretty miserable day with everything going on around us and we would come into practice feeling light, having fun and progressing. It was actually a stress relief to go to practice as our whole team just loved each other and supported each other.”