by James Tate
Off-season culture change
The Lady Falcons 2022-2023 team can claim this season as a major success after no wins last year, but they have bigger goals to accomplish. The great 5-2 start reflects the hard work this team put in over the summer. J.T. Soter became Falcon’s new head and immediately built a new culture with a great staff.
“Coach Lou Gomez and Frank Dankwa have done a fabulous job working with the guards,” said Soter. “They also love the kids and are great role models.” “Lisa Young and Hailey Bassett-Shaw have done great work with the posts,” said Soter. “They have made great strides in a short amount of time.” “The kids gravitate to Hailey,” said Soter. “Her background and success at the high school, college, and professional level command a lot of respect.”
The Lady Falcons’ are having fun and enjoying the early success but mostly enjoy each other. “They genuinely love being together and accept their roles so far,” said Soter. “The challenge will be how we react to adversity when we encounter it this year.”
Super senior captains
The Lady Falcon’s senior captains Haylie Robbins and Brooklyn Hawks are enjoying this great start and are playing with great effort. Robbins brings intensity and toughness to the court for the Falcons. “We play hard on each other at practice and make it difficult for each other,” said Robbins. “In return, it makes us better when it’s game time.”
Robbins is a fiery and tough player on the court and plays with a passion that makes the team better. Being selected team captain is a special honor for Robbins. “I have always wanted to be a team leader so when I was voted in, especially by my teammates it felt amazing,” said Robbins. “To have these players trust me to lead their team this year, it’s a job that I am more than grateful to hold.”
Being a leader and having that special way to connect with teammates and others seems to be a natural fit for Robbins. Robbin’s bright future includes going on a mission after graduation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Robbins also plans to attend Southern Utah University and study psychology.
Hawks is an extremely talented all-around player on the volleyball court as well as playing basketball. She made the 2022 Standard-Examiner All-Area volleyball honorable mention team. Hawks’ effort saw her makeover 200 kills and 72 aces on the season.
A major improvement in the Hawks’ game has been her shooting as she is averaging 9.4 points per game. Her overall understanding of the game and her effort on defense leads to fast break baskets on offense.
Starting point guard Izzy Wyaskett has been a big surprise to everyone except the Falcons team and coaches. Wyaskett is a team captain and leads the Falcons in scoring averaging 13 points and 3.6 assists per game. Wyaskett uses her speed on defense and leads the team with 4 steals per game
It is rare for a freshman to make a big impact on a team. Wyaskett being named team captain is an incredible accomplishment. “I love to be able to help resolve and I do my best to give my teammates everything I have every night,” said Wyaskett. “So, it means a lot to me to be recognized as a captain and get support from my coaches and teammates.”
“I think what makes Izzy as good as she is, is her love for the game,” said Robbins. “Izzy is willing to give her all to her team and this game because she loves it.”
Wyaskett is a smart, tough, and relentless point guard for the Falcons. She is the key to getting the ball to her teammates so they can convert on layups and open shots. “I am very ambitious to deliver to my team,” said Wyaskett. “But my speed conditioning has helped my performance on the court feel natural.”
The Lady Falcons will only lose Robbins and Hawks to graduation entering next season. Underclassmen to watch include junior Nevea Cordova, sophomore Xiyah Yarbrough, and freshmen Brighton Bernards, Destini Gomez, and Amoree Scholer.
With a full year under Soter’s coaching, the lady Falcons are going to be fun to watch over the next few years.
photo courtesy James Tate of Haylie Robbins and Izzy Wyaskett