It was their closest margin of victory this season, but it still came by double digits.
The Eagle High girls basketball team remained undefeated with a 53-40 victory over Centennial in 5A Southern Idaho Conference action Friday night.
The Mustangs improved to 6-0 — their best start under fourth-year coach Cody Pickett — and scored their first win over the Patriots since February 2015. It was the first loss of the season for Centennial (6-1, 4-1).
“It’s definitely different than past years. We felt like we were really good last year, and we never really got the recognition for it,” Eagle senior guard Cassidy Tiegs said. “So to have that kind of recognition now, it feels good, and it’s something that we don’t want to take for granted.”
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Eagle graduated one starter from last year’s team, which advanced to the 5A state tournament for the second year in a row and lost to eventual state champion Mountain View in the semifinals.
The Mustangs were voted the 5A SIC’s preseason No. 1 in the Idaho Statesman’s coaches’ poll, and so far they’ve made that prediction stand up with wins by 28, 30, 28, 18, 21 and 13 points to start the season.
“With only two seniors, we’re young, but with that being said, our juniors have played a ton of basketball,” Pickett said. “... So, we’re probably one of the more experienced teams along with being young.”
As dominant as the Mustangs have looked so far, they are on the verge of getting even better.
Senior guard/forward Abby Mangum, who will be a preferred walk-on at BYU next fall, is expected to return next week from an ACL tear she sustained during last year’s state tournament. Mangum is the younger sister of current BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum.
“She’s been arguably one of our best players for three years,” Pickett said. “She’s just going to be another piece for us that we’re excited to have. We’re going to ease her back into it.”
After falling behind 7-1 early, the Mustangs took control midway through the second quarter with aggressive man-to-man defense against last year’s state runners-up. The Patriots feature two Division I signees in Lauren Brocke (Wichita State) and Tori Williams (Utah), but Eagle held Brocke to two points and kept Williams from scoring in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve always had a mental funk playing against Centennial,” said Tiegs, who was one of three Mustangs to finish with 13 points. “But now we’re over it.”