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Taylorsville Journal

Under new direction, Warriors girls basketball having an impact

Jan 30, 2019 10:36AM ● By Greg James

Warriors senior Finau Tonga has signed an early letter of intent to attend St Mary’s. She is averaging nearly 17 points per game.

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

The girls basketball season at Taylorsville High School started this season with a new head coach. The girls have continued the progression that had been established by the previous regime.

“It has been a little frustrating,” Warriors new girls basketball head coach Reggie Jewkes said. “We have had a rocky start, and our record should be better than it is. We have had some girls out with injury, but we have really tried to come together.”

Jewkes takes over the program after previous head coach, Jodi Lee, left to take a position at Riverton High School. Jewkes brings with her plenty of basketball experience. She began coaching boys basketball in 1997 after her All-Conference career with the University of Utah. She has been an assistant at Skyline and once before at Taylorsville.

“It is tough to inherit someone else's team,” Jewkes said. “I have been looking at our strengths and trying to develop them. This is a good group of girls, very sharp and have been catching on to what we have been teaching them.” 

Senior center Finau Tonga leads the team in scoring averaging 16.5 points per game. At 6 feet 2 inches, she also leads the team with 12 rebounds per game. 

“She is probably the strongest girl basketball player in the state,” Jewkes said. “That is our strength, and we go to her. Our opponents know it and sandwich her underneath. The good thing about Finau is that she knows if they crash down on her, she can pass it out to someone else for a three. She is a force inside.” 

Tonga was an early signee with the Saint Mary’s Gaels in California.

The Warriors rely on Tonga to get the ball to its outside shooters Calleigh Deyoung and Aubrey Yorgason. They have combined for 226 points in the team’s first 12 games. Against Cyprus, the interior defense collapsed on Tonga holding her to 11 points, but she was able to find Yorgason, who pitched in eight points and Deyoung sank three three-point shots in the 47-36 win. 

“They came and double teamed me, but the rest of my team came through,” Tonga said after the victory. “That is probably the biggest reason we won tonight.” 

Preseason left the Warriors with a 5-7 record. They secured wins over Roy, Summit Academy, Olympus, Skyline and Cyprus. Jewkes said they are now prepared for their region contests.

“That is what this is all about,” Jewkes said. “We needed to learn and be ready for region. This group is great. They are very coachable and a fun group. Sometimes, they test my patience, but they are a great group.”

The Warriors compete in the Utah High School Activities Association Region 3. They are scheduled to face West Jordan, Herriman, Copper Hills and Riverton. Lee returned to face her old team Jan. 22 (after press deadline). 

The Warriors have qualified for the state tournament in five straight years and in 14 of the last 15 seasons. The team has caught on to the message of the new coaching staff and hopes to keep the streak alive.

“We had to adjust,” Tonga said. “She has been showing us some new things, but it has been a great season.”

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