Skyview High School
Conference: 4A Southern Idaho Conference
Head Coach: Cindy Pasta
Years as Head Coach: 20th season
Record Last Year: 26-1
State Titles: 2014
Photo By: Steve Conner - 2013-14 State Champions
Written by: Chris Langrill
Don't get her wrong: Cindy Pasta will never forget the Skyview High girls basketball team's magical ride last season.
After all, the Hawks finished with a 25-1 record and won the first state title in program history.
On top of that, she got to win that state championship while her daughter, Bailey, played out her senior year.
It was certainly a special season. It was also an extremely stressful season for the Skyview coach.
“Everyone expected us to win last year,” Pasta said.
And rightfully so, it turned out.
The team had Leah Bonner, who had 27 points and 19 rebounds in the team's state title victory. Bonner is now playing for the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Oh, and the team also had Pasta's daughter, Bailey, a feisty guard who scored 17 points and dished out seven assists in that championship game. Bailey is now playing for Carroll College.
Add in Ashlynn Smith, who had a double-double in the title game, and you've got a pretty formidable lineup.
But those players are gone now.
And it's OK to turn the page, said Pasta, who returns for her 20th season of coaching the Skyview girls.
“There are quite a few new faces out there,” Pasta said. “We played all summer, so we're definitely going to be competitive. … My biggest thing is to not compare this year's team to last year's team. I just want them to find their own destiny.”
That destiny, she said, will be most successful if the players gel as a team and learn to lean on each other. Those players include Kayla Turcato, a senior post, and Tiana Thompson and Hailey Graviet, a pair of senior wings.
“They've got to play together,” Pasta said. “Leah and Bailey were our biggest scorers last year, and we have a lot of girls who aren't used to scoring who now have to realize that they have to step up and score.”
Pasta said that part of that responsibility is on her as an experienced coach.
“Last year, we had a lot of plays designed around Bailey and Leah,” she said. “Now we're going to have to be more team oriented and we're going to have to … execute a lot more plays so we can get better shot selection.”
Speed shouldn't be an issue, though.
“We're definitely going to be a fast team,” Pasta said. “I think we're actually faster than last year, so we're going to play an up-tempo defense.”
Obviously, Pasta hopes the wins pile up.
But don't expect her to put the kind of stress on herself that she did last year, when everybody expected her to win that mythical first state championship.
“I really feel good about this year,” she said, “because I just feel less pressure.”
And in her 20th season, with a state title under her belt, she has more perspective than most coaches.
“This year, I'm just going to enjoy the journey,” Pasta said. “I have a young group that doesn't have a lot of varsity experience and I'm just going to try to get the most out of them that I can.”