Athlete of the Week: Mackenzie Younker

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) Grand Junction senior Mackenzie Younker scored 24 points in a win over Montrose in what was her final regular season home game as a Tiger.

"It was awesome. It was kind of bittersweet," said Younker. "It's really sad to think this could be our last home game. We're hoping that's not going to be the case. It was just so much fun. I love playing this team and these girls. I feel like it was a really strong win. We gained a lot of confidence."

Younker scored the team's first 11 points in the game and was a match-up problem all night.

"She's really hard to stop," said head coach Sam Provenza. "She's very active. She's so athletic and she finds spaces, to everybody's credit, she finds those spaces and the kids get her the basketball."

The senior has averaged 15 points per game this season flipping the script from last season, helping the Tigers to a 16 win season. On Tuesday, she was the hot hand and even she was amazed.

"I just think I was able to find little holes on the inside near the hoop," said Younker. "I kind of surprised myself with the three I had so that was cool."

"That's her athleticism showing up," said Provenza. "She anticipates so well and understands the game of basketball so well that she knows where that next pass is going to go."

The senior's received an ovation at the end of the game and in an honor typically for the seniors, she sees it more as an opportunity for her teammates.

"It felt really good," said Younker. "My favorite part in playing is when coach pulls you out for the last two minutes because you guys are up and those other players get to go in. I remember being in that spot and being like, 'Yes, I finally get to go in!' It's just a good feeling to be able to do that for your team to let them get that opportunity."

"She's a terrific leader, said Provenza. "She's a school leader and it carries over into our basketball team. Things don't get to Kenzie. It rolls off of her if something happens. If I jump on her a little bit, it rolls off. If she makes a mistake on the floor, it rolls off. She moves onto the next thing."

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