Feeling sky high: Skyview wins first-ever girls basketball state title

Imposing post Leah Bonner leads the Hawks to the 4A championship by beating Twin Falls.

SPECIAL TO THE STATESMANFebruary 23, 2014 

— NAMPA — Skyview High senior forward Leah Bonner did it all Saturday night.

Post a monster double-double? Check.

Play imposing interior defense? Check.

Launch full-court, laser-beam assists? Check.

Hoist the first state championship trophy in Skyview girls basketball history?

Check, and mate.

Bonner set the tone early and sealed the deal late, finishing with 27 points, 19 rebounds and six assists as Skyview pulled away for a 69-55 victory over Twin Falls at the Ford Idaho Center.

“We did it,” said Bonner, a University of Alaska Anchorage signee. “We took it one goal at a time, and we achieved them all. I was in foul trouble in the first couple [state] games, and it was hurting my team, but they pushed through it and tonight, I was able to come through for them.”

Senior guard Bailey Pasta added 17 points and seven assists for Skyview (25-1), which ends the season on a 25-game winning streak after losing its opener to 5A finalist Rocky Mountain. The Hawks rolled through the 4A state tournament, defeating Burley, Pocatello and Twin Falls by an average margin of 12 points.

“This is the best moment of my life,” Bailey Pasta said. “I knew we had a special team that could do things that hadn’t ever been done before, but to come out here and win a state championship, it’s unbelievable.”

Skyview built a 28-24 halftime lead behind 14 points and seven rebounds from Bonner. Pasta got off to a slow start offensively, but she heated up in the second half as the Hawks began to pull away.

Senior post Ashlynn Smith added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds for Skyview, which got scoring contributions from seven different players. The Hawks shot 52 percent from the floor while holding Twin Falls to 32 percent shooting, and the Skyview lead was never seriously threatened in the fourth quarter.

“This has been a dream for these kids,” Skyview coach Cindy Pasta said. “They’ve been willing to do whatever it takes to reach our goals, and it’s so gratifying to see them make it a reality.”

Kaitlyn Merritt (18 points, nine rebounds), Kaiya Moffitt (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Regan Harr (12 points) all scored in double figures for Twin Falls (23-3). But in the end, the Bruins just didn’t have enough firepower to keep up with Skyview’s dynamic senior duo.

“Leah came out tonight and played to her full potential,” said Bailey Pasta, who will continue her career at Carroll College. “This was our last game together, and she was awesome.”

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