When your 4A District 6 bracket is headlined by the 2-time defending 5A state champs, it is understood everyone else is playing for silver. Not that the Hillcrest Knights weren’t playing to win Thursday.
They did just that in a grueling 3-2 win over Shelley in the semifinals to preserve their season.
It’s just that it wouldn’t be devastating if the Knights lost in the final.
On the subject of devastating — the Bonneville Bees.
Unbeaten in 4A this season, Bonneville swept through the 4A District 6 bracket, claiming a third-consecutive district title with a 3-0 rout (25-10, 25-9, 25-18) of the rival Knights at Bonneville High School.
But unlike most district finals, no one walked off the court in tears.
“We did what we set out to do tonight, and that was be recognized as one of the top teams in this district, and have a practice tomorrow,” Hillcrest coach Amanda Wade said. “Really proud of the way we put it all on the line against Shelley.”
Fresh off that five-set marathon against the Russets, the Knights struggled to match the rested Bees, falling behind 7-2 during a 25-10 opening set loss.
Bonneville kept pressure on from sideline to sideline, working the outsides with juniors Makayla Sorensen and Sadie Lott, and sophomore Mariah Jardine, among others.
Senior Sade Williams had some of the cleanest kills of the match early on, and eventually scored the championship point with a third-set kill.
“Playing with this group is definitely one of my top experiences as a player, and I am so happy that we get to continue this journey together,” Williams said.
The Bees were even more dominant in the second set, opening up a 12-2 lead with both of Hillcrest’s points coming off Bonneville errors.
Sorensen had a nice night in limited time, finishing with nine kills, eight digs and a whopping seven aces. Lott added eight digs and four kills, and senior Paige Dixon led the Bees with three blocks.
The district title moves Bonneville to 36-3, earning the Bees the top seed out of District 6. The Bees will open the state tournament Oct. 26 at Rocky Mountain High School against the District 4-5 No. 2 team.
“I don’t know too much about the 4A teams (in the state bracket), but I do know we will be facing teams who are playing at their highest level at this point in the season,” Dixon said.
Hillcrest state tournament hopes hinge on a 3 p.m. play-in game Saturday against the District 3 No. 3 team at Burley High School.
Down 13-7 against the Russets, the Knights earned that play-in opportunity by scoring nine of the final 10 points against Shelley to win the final set of that match 16-14.