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Midvale Journal

Hillcrest High girls basketball wins 6A region 2 title, falls in quarterfinals

Apr 09, 2018 12:07PM ● By Jennifer Gardiner

Yearbook photo for the Hillcrest girls basketball team. (Hillcrest High School)

There is no doubt the Hillcrest Huskies girls basketball team was overwhelmed with excitement from their recently finished season. The Huskies clinched the Region 2 title and won their first round playoff game against Clearfield before succumbing to Westlake. 

The team went 12-0 in region, and finished the regular season 16-4 overall,, a vast improvement over the prior years. Last season they went 11-10, and lost to Maple Mountain in the first round of the 4A playoffs. The year before they were 5-16, and in 2014-2015 they went 2-19. 

Coach Devin Olenick said they have 13 girls on the varsity roster with a combined GPA of 3.82. Two of their players also completed the International Baccalaureate program.

Four starters returned from last season, and they added four newcomers to their roster. 

“This season we have a talented group of seniors, who are buying into the concepts of ball movement and finding quality shots offensively, and have been sharing the ball tremendously well this season,” Olenick said. “Team chemistry has been a huge focus for us this year, and many of our girls have made huge strides in their ability to stay composed on the floor, and to communicate with each other in a productive way.”

Cara Snowder plays the forward position and is a huge part of what they do on both ends of the floor. 

“She is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever seen, truly leading by example,” Olenick said. “She (averaged) 13.4 points per game, and her 9.4 rebounds per game is tops in class 6A. More importantly, though are her efforts on the defensive end, as she often draws the assignment of guarding their best post player, and is like our quarterback defensively.”

Gabrielle Desjardins is the Huskies point guard and has been a key leader for them this year. 

“She immersed herself in the game, having a clear understanding of not just what she is supposed to be doing, but the rest of the girls as well, as a point guard should,” Olenick said. “She leads the state in assists with 6.8 per game, and a lot of our success on the offensive end is due to her. She has done a great job of keeping our team composed, and at a place emotionally where we can be successful.”

Annabella Jensen has been a four-year starter at Hillcrest and has always had the ability to score the basketball in several different ways. 

“She has taken her game to new places this season, and her and Cara have worked tremendously well in the post together, sharing the ball effectively and finding the best shot available,” Olenick said. “She also has committed herself on the defensive end of the floor, playing a crucial role in our full court press, using her length and speed to disrupt opponents.” 

Olenick said they are excited for the future, a new school that is scheduled to be built soon, which will include a new gym.

“We are grateful for the support that we receive from everyone at Hillcrest, from students, administration, faculty, etc. We are hopeful to build a program that will be competitive year in and year out, and that this season will begin to build excitement and energy that we can expand on in the future,” Olenick said. “This group of girls has worked tremendously hard for several years, and for their hard work to be recognized and appreciated by their peers really means a lot to them.” 

Olenick made the move to Utah from South Carolina when he accepted the role as the new head coach for the 2017-2018 girls basketball team and physical education teacher at Hillcrest High School. Olenick said once he heard he got the job at Hillcrest, he packed up his wife Laura, their 2-year-old son Owen, and their two dogs in a Penske truck, and traveled across the country. Shortly after arriving in Utah, Olenick’s wife gave birth on November 1 to their son Logan.