Nights like Thursday’s first-round 4A bi-district playoff basketball are why Mikelle Anthony returned to the hardwood.
The Skyview High senior is a UNLV softball signee, but is relishing big moments in basketball again in her first full season in three years. Anthony stepped away from the sport sophomore year, but had a change of heart midway through last year’s league season to jump back in. She returned to the Storm with a new-found love behind coaches and teammates who’ve made it special.
“I didn’t want to leave Skyview without leaving my mark on the basketball program,” Anthony said. “The feeling you get in basketball is a fast feeling you don’t get in softball.”
And Anthony’s made major contributions as a two-way interior player, too. In Thursday’s 58-41 victory over Auburn Mountainview to open the 4A bi-district girls tournament, she had a game-high 15 points, 11 rebounds and two assists to help the Storm (15-6 overall) advance to Saturday’s winner-to-regional game in Tacoma. They’ll face Bellarmine Prep at 3:30 p.m. at Wilson High School.
Anthony is no stranger to playoff basketball. She played significant minutes on the Storm’s playoff-bound team her freshman season three years ago, as well as in her abbreviated season that ended in bi-districts in 2019.
“This year,” Anthony said, “I got a whole season.”
And it continues Saturday for the 4A Greater St. Helens League champions. After having their six-game win streak snapped by Union on Feb. 5 to end the regular-season, the Storm held off an Auburn Mountainview (11-10) team that used hustle plays on defense and clutch outside shooting to generate multiple scoring runs to stay within striking distance entering the fourth quarter. Skyview led 40-30 before back-to-back Anthony field goals stretched the lead to 46-32. A 12-6 scoring run made it a 20-point advantage the final minute.
Kazz Parks also added nine points for Skyview. A noticeable stat Thursday, though, is points off the bench. Half of Skyview’s points — 29 — came from non-starters, led by freshman Avery Wilson’s nine points and seven from senior Alexis Perez, who also had two steals.
“No matter if it’s defense or offense,” Perez said, “I try to put in as much as I can to help out.”
For a team that stresses defense, the Storm hopes momentum carries over into Saturday.
“That’s been our thing all year — defense, defense, defense,” Anthony said. “That’s what we practice and that’s what we preach. We don’t want to preach something and not go through with it.
“We have to come out with the mindset that this is our game and this is our time.”
SKYVIEW 58, AUBURN MOUNTAINVIEW 41
AUBURN MOUNTAINVIEW (11-10) — Maliyah Elliott 7, Hayley Flores 6, Jenna Lacey 9, Azaria Johnson 11, Alashae Bell 8. Totals 14 (6) 7-15 41.
SKYVIEW (15-6) — Addison McPherson 0, Mikelle Anthony 15, Alexis Perez 7, Madeline Hendricks 5, Ava Harman 3, Avery Wilson 9, Skylar Groesbeck 0, Kazz Parks 9, Emily Norton 5, Jordan Labrador-Hallett 2. Totals 21 (4) 11-17 58.
Aub. Mtn. 9 10 11 11 – 41
Skyview 16 12 12 18 – 58