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Sugar House Journal

Highland girls basketball team seeks consistency, region contention

Jan 29, 2019 16h44 ● By Josh Mc Fadden

Olivia Beckstead brings the ball up the court against West during a region game. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

With four postseason spots open among six teams in Region 6, every game matters.

The Highland girls basketball team knows this, which is why the Rams are looking to string together some wins now that they’re in the heart of region play. Highland went 6-5 in non-region action and then split its first two region games. Though Highland has had its moments, head coach Kurt Schneider is aiming for a more consistent output.

“It has been an up-and-down year,” Schneider said. “We have played really good at times and really bad. We have been inconsistent on offense. Our defense has been solid. I am most pleased about how we have persevered through the ups and downs.”

As Schneider points out, the Rams have been within reach in all but one of their losses. Highland fell in lopsided fashion to Corner Canyon, 65-33 on Dec. 13 but have four defeats in single digits and one by 11 to Cyprus. Conversely, five of Highland’s first seven victories came by at least 12 points. 

Schneider’s assessment of his team’s defensive effort appears to be spot on. The Ram’s have frustrated foes and their offensive attacks. Only Corner Canyon managed to score more than 48 points on Highland during the first 13 games. The Rams held five teams during this span to fewer than 30 points. 

Individually, Schneider is pleased with the play of Olivia Beckstead and Kaija Glasker. Both players were named by the radio station 1280 The Zone as Athletes of the Week. Glasker is averaging close to 15 points per game, while Beckstead tallies eight points a contest. Glasker is also the leading rebounder with more than seven boards a game. 

“Kaija Glasker and Olivia Beckstead have stood out,” Schneider said. “Kaija is averaging close to a double-double, and Olivia has been one of the top three-point shooters along with running the team and being our best defender. They have played at a high level consistently.”

Schneider also said senior Alexa Thurgood has been a standout defender and a “pleasant surprise.”

Highland has played a challenging schedule this season, with many of those games coming on the road. Schneider admires the way his team has battled in most of these games. With some more consistency, he believes his girls can continue to compete well in all their remaining games.

“From here on out, we need to be consistent offensively for four quarters and play good team defense,” he said. “We will need to have confidence from all of the girls to step up in any given situations.”

Even in defeat, Highland players have been supportive of one another and have kept their chins up. Schneider admires their resilience and camaraderie.

“The kids have had a great attitude and have really supported each other,” he said. “Sports are full of up and downs and emotions, and we have been able to handle them really good as a team. The athletes really enjoy being around one another. The kids have really left everything on the floor every game and have played extremely hard.”

The Rams crushed Murray 51-29 on Jan. 8 and lost at East 48-41 on Jan. 11. The Rams play each Region 6 foe twice and end the regular season Feb. 12 at home against Skyline.