By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography), Chelsey Adler (DeseretNews.com) & Shane Marshall
Picking the top anything of the year is never an easy proposition, and as we complete our third list of top Utah high school sports stories of the year for Preps Utah, we found that this list is no exception.
For the 2013-2014 school year, we released our Top 20 stories of the year, but this year, we have expanded our list to 25 stories, some of which combine multiple events that share common themes. Since the goal is not to be exactly right, as anything of this nature is entirely subjective, but to recognize as many of the great accomplishments of the student athletes across the state as we can, we hope you will understand.
Beginning July 13 and continuing for the next three weeks, we will release one or two items on our list per day, beginning with No. 25 and working our way up to story No. 1. Today, we announce No. 6.
#6 – Perfection X 3
It’s hard to go undefeated over the course of a long basketball season. No. 6 in our Preps Utah 2014-2015 Top 25 stories honors the fact that the girls basketball season had not just one, but three, teams run the table.
The most unheralded run of perfection might have been the most impressive, particularly when you look at margin of victory. Hidden in the small community of Panguitch in the southern part of the state, the Lady Bobcats, were completely untested while building a 26-0 record and winning the Class 1A state championship.
The closest games of the season for Panguitch were a pair of 21-point margins, a win over Desert Oasis of Nevada in the Mesquite Tourney and the Region 20 tournament championship game win over Piute.
Piute also managed to get within 22 of the Bobcats during the regular season, but the state title game rematch between the two went to Panguitch by a 58-28 count.
For the season, the Bobcats scored 1,859 points while allowing just 762. That’s 71.5 points per game scored while opponents scored fewer than 30 a night. Talk about domination.
In the state tournament, Panguitch won its first three games by scores of 87-10, 75-32 and 55-22 heading into that championship game win over Piute.
The Bobcats had four players average in double figures, led by 6-foot-1 senior center Darri Frandsen, who averaged 16.69 points per contest. Frandsen also pulled down more than 13 points per game.
Juniors Whittni Orton (13 points, 7 assists, 5.5 steals per game), Taylor Bennett (12.65 points, 6.5 rebounds) and Chesney Campbell (12.2 points, 7 rebounds 4 assists) were the other most productive players for Panguitch in a year filled with incredible performances.
The Other Bobcats
Up in the northern part of the state, another team of Bobcats took a completely different approach to its 25-0 campaign. It was a season book-ended by wins against the same Skyline team for Lindsey Jensen and undefeated Sky View.
The Bobcats survived their season opener in overtime, holding off the Eagles 63-62 and when those same two teams arrived at the 4A state tournament finale three months later, the result was another Sky View win, this time by a 43-32 score.
In between, the Bobcats dominated the competition, running away with the Region 5 title as they rode Ms. Basketball’s amazing performance to perfection. Sky View did not let the pressure of playing for 25-0 get to it even in the state tournament.
A difficult first-round draw against two-time defending state champion Springville gave the Bobcats a bit of a test, but they pulled away late for the 63-53 victory. After that, Sky View absolutely dominated Murray and Mountain View, two games in which the biggest drama was whether the opposing team would manage to score as many points as Jensen herself.
Then came a tough win over a physical Skyline team that delivered the undefeated final record for the Bobcats.
Jensen was the story all year long at Sky View. The Utah State-bound senior scored more than 23 points per game, grabbed close to six rebounds and still managed close to four assists per contest.
It seems like each of the past three seasons came with big expectations for the Juan Diego Catholic High girls basketball team. Along the way, the state tournament brought a bit of disappointment.
That all changed in 2014-2015 as Josh Archuleta made his debut as the head coach of the Soaring Eagle. Everything came together in the senior season of sensational sisters Monique and Dominique Mills, as the twins led Juan Diego to the top of Class 3A with a 25-0 season.
You knew something special might be brewing when the Soaring Eagle opened the season with a 63-59 win over eventual 5A state champion Brighton. There was also an impressive non-region win over one of 4A’s best, Timpview.
The state tournament performance was impressive as much for the teams Juan Diego defeated as it was for the way it beat them. After a 61-26 win to open the tournament, the Soaring Eagle ran off a 15-point victory over defending state champion Desert Hills, a 66-55 win against a strong Bear River squad and then a 67-47 win to seal the title and perfect season against the team that lost in the title game a year ago, Morgan.
Monique Mills was outstanding all year long for the Soaring Eagle, averaging 19 points per game, and her sister was right there with her. Dominique scored 17.5 points a night.
All things considered, it was an amazing year for high school girls basketball in the state of Utah.
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