Over the Christmas break, the Salt River High School girls’ varsity basketball team traveled to Oregon to compete in the annual Nike tournament. The Lady Eagles finished 1-3 overall at the tournament.
Their record may show three losses, but the Lady Eagles learned a great deal about themselves and as a team. “[The girls were] away from what they know, and their comfort zones, and playing at different
times of the day. It can be a lot on someone not accustomed to traveling,” said Coach Shawn Lytle.
The Lady Eagles turned the ball over on average 26 times per game in the tournament; however they competed against good teams that would match up well against the better teams in higher divisions.
In addition to the elevated skill level, the girls faced individuals who have signed to D-1 colleges and stood well over six feet tall. “Our tallest girl is maybe five-eight,” chuckled Lytle.
Most schools will play a few games against an opponent in a higher division and vice versa, with the end goal of understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Competing on a higher level, in a different state, far from their comfort zones made the girls aware of what they need to work on individually and as a team. The Lady Eagles are undefeated in their conference currently, and with this experience it will make a significant impact on their journey as they contend for the state title.
It wasn’t just about basketball. The girls embarked on a great experience traveling and visiting a place far from home with only each other to lean on. One of the highlights of the trip was one afternoon
when the girls went on a hike and came across the “Cullen House.” A house that was featured in the hit movie series “Twilight.” The house was the setting where the vampire family resided.
Owners of the house are usually not home, but on this rare day the girls visited they were home, causing difficulties to get a closer look at the spectacle multimillion dollar home.
Other highlights of the trip included meeting the General Manager of Nike N7, an organization committed to bringing sports and all of its benefits to Native American and Aboriginal communities in the United States and Canada. Nike N7 sponsored the Lady Eagles in the tournament by paying for fees, hotels and merchandise including this year’s N& Basketball Shoe, meals and travel expenses.
Toward the end of their trip, the girls received a motivational speech from Lanette Fidrych. Fidrych’s speech included her battles growing up and living in foster care after the tragic murder of her mother. Fidrych was a track-and-field star at Weber State, competing in the women’s high jump. Fidrych missed representing the USA United States in the 2004 Olympics by only one centimeter. Currently she successfully owns and operates an Earth-friendly pet business, Cycle Dog. The moral of the story…life will give you a bad hand and you can either fold ‘em or play your hand with fortitude.