San Juan girls get two wins, Coach Stearns previews new season

Following a 1-2 weekend at the Shannon Johnson Classic in Vernal, UT a week ago, the San Juan girls basketball team strung together back-to-back wins over Monticello Tuesday, December 8 and Manti Saturday, December 12 to improve to 3-2 on the year.

The Lady Broncos led from the start against the Lady Buckaroos in the SJHS gym Tuesday night, but Monticello rallied in the second quarter to get back to within three. From that point, San Juan dominated to take the win 82-43.

Emilie Palmer led the way offensively for the Lady Broncos with 23 points, Heyleigh Warren scored 14, Sadie Brown got 13, Quiana Dishface added nine, Kaitlynne Perkins and Makaeli Begaye both tallied seven, Adriana Johnson scored four, and Serina Yanito and Kaeahliyah Howard added three and two respectively.

In Manti this past Saturday, San Juan opened with an 11-4 first quarter and it looked like they would run away with the game. The Lady Templars won both the second and third quarters 10-9, and had some momentum headed into the fourth down by five.

The teams duked it out in an offensive final frame and though San Juan lost the quarter 14-13 they were able to hang on for a 42-38 win.

Brown and Palmer tied for the Lady Bronco scoring lead with ten points apiece. Dishface hit for nine, Warren got seven, Begaye added four, and Serina Yanito rounded out the scoring with a couple points.

This week is a light one for the girls. They host the Mountain Crest Lady Mustangs Friday night at 7 p.m.

Though the season is already underway, we wanted to give Head Coach Laura Stearns a chance to preview her team as she begins her third year at the helm of the Lady Broncos. Here are her thoughts about her coaching philosophy and her players:

“Our varsity team this year wants to have a successful year. They work hard and push each other to become the best they can. They may be small in size, but they make up for it with hustle and aggression.

“My coaching philosophy is constantly changing but right now my focus is to teach the fundamentals of basketball. Many of the players we get at the high school level have never played basketball or have played very little.

“Being able to understand how to shoot, dribble, pass, run a simple play, and move on defense are some of the basics that have to be taught before we can move on to anything complicated.

“I feel that any team that can successfully show they know the fundamentals in a game will win.

“As a coach I also see that every player has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s my job to bring out those strengths on the court and keep working on the weaknesses.

“I try to teach my team that basketball isn’t just a game. The way we play basketball is how we will live our lives. If we are lazy on the court, we will be lazy in our jobs. If we give up or get frustrated when a game gets hard, we will do the same in life.

Thoughts on full-time varsity players:

Quiana Dishface – “Q” has great basketball sense and is able to anticipate where players will be out on the court. She is able to create advantages for herself and teammates and can also shoot a three when needed.

Emilie Palmer – An extreme threat on the high post. She loves to drive, but can also shoot a three. She’s doing a great job learning how to keep her emotions in check so she can stay in the game and avoid fouling out.

Sadie Brown – A solid player on offense and defense. She has an excellent shot 15 feet and in. She is working on extending that shot out to the three-point line. Sadie has a very positive attitude. She does well keeping the team together.

Heyleigh Warren – A great outside shooter. Heyleigh has been working hard on her speed and agility and we can already see a difference since the beginning of the season.

Makaeli Begaye – A hard worker. Makaeli loves the 15-foot jumper. She possesses a positive attitude on and off the court.

Kaitlynne Perkins – She’s the sixth man in and is very consistent on defense.

San Juan Record

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