VW Findlay’s girls basketball player of the week: Chesley leads Hurricane, ends Cedar’s years-long win streak

ST. GEORGE — Hurricane junior Haley Chesley has been selected as the Region 9 girls basketball player of the week for the first week of Region 9 play. With Chesley at the lead, Hurricane went 1-1 in the first week, including dealing Cedar its first in-region loss since Jan. 18, 2018 in 42-41 overtime contest on Thursday.

Cedar at Hurricane, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 7, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Chesley had 14 points in the win over Cedar. In the closing minutes of the game with the Tigers trailing by one, Chesley drew a foul and landed a free throw to tie the game with 35 seconds remaining. She then stole the resulting inbound and drew another foul. She made one of her two free throws there to put the pressure on Cedar with just 30 seconds remaining.

In the overtime period, Chesley secured her own rebound and put it back to give Hurricane a 39-37 minute lead with around two minutes left. It gave the Tigers the opportunity to control the clock, which in turn forced Cedar to play aggressive and foul, netting the Tigers three more points by way of free throw.

“I try to get my team the ball as much as possible but sometimes when their shots don’t fall I have to take on the role of helping my team win,” Chesley said. “At the end of the day, that’s what I’m here for. I just try to help my team win but also get them involved.”

Chesley also had seven rebounds against Cedar, six off the defensive glass.

The 5-foot-10-inch junior wasn’t aware of the 33-game winning streak Cedar was on entering the game but just brought the mentality that she wanted the team’s first conference win of the season.

Cedar at Hurricane, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 7, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“You try not to get into your head and say, ‘Oh, we’re absolutely going to destroy this team,'” she said. “You just have to do what you can to help your team win. I just went in the mindset that I wanted to win.”

After establishing herself on the varsity roster last season, Chesley has taken a role in the focal point of first-year head coach Pepper Reddish’s system. Her versatility to shoot when needed but also step up and play physical in the post and press the issue on both sides of the court and her aggression play directly into Reddish’s style.

Hurricane plays high-energy, aggressive basketball. Chesley’s size and talent only make her head coach’s job easier.

“She’s super important to this team,” Reddish said. “Her growth has been amazing. The biggest part was, she had a little bit of a hiccup with scoring last year and all of the sudden she just decided, ‘Oh, I’ve got to make a difference somewhere else.’ And she did. She’s an assister, she’s a rebounder, she’s a defender and she’s there for her teammates. She doesn’t mind taking the risk but she also doesn’t mind passing the ball off.”

In total, Chesley scored 27 points with 10 rebounds a steal and a block across the two games in the opening week. She went 8-for-11 from the free-throw line. In the 48-37 loss to Dixie on Jan. 5, she still led the team with 13 points.

Cedar at Hurricane, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 7, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

For good measure, Chesley scored a career-high 22 points in a win over Crimson Cliffs on Tuesday in the team’s first game in Region 9 week two. Reddish, Chesley and the Tigers want to turn some heads this season and make a push. If they’re successful, Chesley will be a big reason why.

“I think we’re a good enough team to go all the way to state. That’s the goal and my teammates’ goal right now,” Chesley said. “We’re just doing what we can right now to push and get ourselves there.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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