Hillcrest High School
Conference: 5A District 5-6 Conference
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Head Coach: Dave Austin
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 19 years at Freshman/JV level
Record Last Year: 17-7
G Nash Austin (Sr)
G Tanner Chapple (Sr)
F Trey Johnson (Jr)
F Jaxon Weatherly (Jr)
Returning Players with Honors:
Austin (2nd Team All-Conference, honorable mention All-Area)
Chapple (honorable mention All-Conference)
Key Players lost from last year:
McKay Mangeris (High Country Conference Player of the Year)
Incoming impact players:
G Derek Marlowe (Jr)
G Kyle Austin (Soph)
Written by: Will Hoenike
If you’re a Hillcrest Knights fan and you’re in to silver linings, you can say this – five of your seven losses last season came to teams who played for the 5A State Championship in March. The team went 17-2 against everyone else.
Now … to get over the hump and move past defending state champ Highland and runner-up Madison.
“Everyone knows the road to State goes through Madison,” head coach David Austin told the Preview. “Highland is always tough and they will look to repeat from last year’s championship run … we can’t wait to see where we measure up.”
Austin and the Knights appear to have the ponies to play with anyone in the High Country Conference. The team returns senior guards Nash Austin and Tanner Chapple, each of whom was honored after the season with All-Conference honors, Austin on the second team and Chapple honorable mention. The Knights also return junior forward Trey Johnson to the starting lineup and junior forward Jaxon Weatherly will have an opportunity to move into a larger role for Hillcrest.
“We expect Nash, Tanner and Trey to lead us and be the ones to get us going offensively,” Austin said. “Our younger players will be very important to us offensively as well after they get their feet wet.”
That includes junior guard Derek Marlow and sophomore guard Kyle Austin. Those two, along with the elder Austin and Chapple, give the Knights a deep and talented backcourt.
“Tanner Chapple will be our defensive leader and as he goes, we go,” Austin noted. “He is a player that we can put on anyone at any time and feel that we have the advantage.”
Austin told a story of a staff member encountering a serious medical issue on the second day of practice. With great medical care, the staff member is expected to recover.
“It shed light on how short life can be at time and how we need to always be there for each other, no matter the situation,” Austin said. “It has really brought our team closer to each other as well as our staff.”
Hillcrest will not only have to battle with Madison and Highland in conference play, but a Bonneville squad that returns all but one player as well as a well-coached Rigby squad. But, if you’re a Hillcrest Knight, there’s usually one opponent on the schedule that stands out more than others.
“As always, the Civil War (rivalry game) with Bonneville will be great,” Austin concluded. “The rivalry with Bonneville is second to none and is always a great game.”
The two old foes actually met four times last season, with Hillcrest winning three (including their district-tournament matchup). Bonneville visits Hillcrest on January 12 this season with Hillcrest visiting their cross-town rivals on February 3.