Girls basketball: Sizing up Northern Utah schools in 5A Region 5, 4A Region 11 and 2A Region 17
Below are high school girls basketball preseason outlooks for area teams in 5A Region 5, 4A Region 11 and 2A Region 17.
Everyone’s chasing Bountiful, which won Region 5 last year with a 10-0 record and returns its top three scorers — Taylor Harvey, Lizzy McConkie and Claire Cook — from a team that went 21-4 and advanced to the state semifinals.
The Redhawks also start the year with Jordyn Harvey in the lineup, who played as a freshman and sophomore but didn’t play last season until the very end when potential injury problems hung over the team.
Bountiful is 1-0 after beating Roy 54-12 last week. On the Redhawks’ non-region schedule is a home game against defending 5A champion Springville (Dec. 6) and a home game with Layton (Dec. 30).
Who might challenge the Redhawks at the top? That’s where the water starts getting muddy.
Northridge started last year 7-5 before losing six straight games to finish fifth in the region at 3-7. The Knights beat Orem in the first round of the playoffs, then lost to Timpview.
They return three of their top five leading scorers from a year ago, led by senior Madison Hosino (10.4 points, 4.1 rebounds per game), junior Kaylee Hess (8.5 points, 3.9 rebounds) and sophomore Karlee Mayfield (4.0 points, 4.3 rebounds).
Senior center Aubrey Reeve returns after posting 4.5 rebounds per game in 2021-22. Head coach Chris Smith also expects senior Shanda Sternberg and juniors Sarah Mower, Marley Cross and Alyssa Byrd to be in the mix in the rotation.
“We had a lot of players get valuable experience last season who should be able to contribute more this year. We also have a versatile group who I feel can match up well with pretty much any team we face,” Smith said.
Northridge is 0-1 with a 55-38 loss to Corner Canyon. The Knights have Roy (Dec. 6), Ogden (Dec. 13), Ben Lomond (Dec. 20) and Syracuse (Dec. 30) on their non-region schedule.
Bonneville was the region’s bottom team last year at 1-9 and 5-19 overall in Johnny Caine’s first year as Lakers’ head coach. They graduated their top three rebounders, three of their four leading scorers from a year ago and have some inexperience in a lot of places this year.
Bonneville brings back senior guard Libby Jensen (8.6 points), senior forward Emmaline DeGroot (2.9 points), senior guard Hailee Cherry (2.7 points) and junior guard Analeise Maharaj (1.1 points).
“This team plays hard, plays smart, and plays together. We have a bunch of skilled, athletic players that will get after it on both ends, and we’re deep,” Caine said.
Senior Hannah Mickelsen, senior McCall Monson, senior Stocktyn Stevenson, junior Zia Norton, junior Baylee Andreasen, junior Tyler Moss and junior Sidnee Geerdes could factor in the lineup, Caine said.
The Lakers are 1-0 after a 62-19 win last week against Logan. Their upcoming schedule includes Roy (Dec. 8), Syracuse (Dec. 13), Davis (Dec. 15) and Weber (Dec. 20).
Box Elder went 12-12 overall and 4-6 in the region last year with a playoff win over Maple Mountain before losing to Bountiful in the second round. BEHS graduated its top three scorers and top three rebounders. Additional information about this year’s team wasn’t provided.
The Bees are currently 1-0 with a 42-38 win over Mountain Crest. They play Richfield, Snow Canyon and Juan Diego in the Desert Hills (St. George) Holiday Classic this weekend before facing a non-region schedule that includes Farmington (Dec. 6), Weber (Dec. 9), Layton (Dec. 13), Syracuse (Dec. 16), Bear River (Dec. 20) and Roy (Dec. 29).
Elsewhere, Viewmont was second in the region last year at 8-2 after starting the season 3-10. Cameron Gardner replaces Roger Farnsworth as head coach and the Vikings graduated three of their top five leading scorers and two of their top three rebounders.
Woods Cross had the best scoring defense and worst scoring offense in the region last year, and graduated three of its top six leading scorers along with its top two rebounders.
In 4A Region 11, Bear River alumnus Josie Pugsley replaces Tyrell Neal as head coach. The Bears went 5-17 overall and 2-8 (both region wins against Logan) in Region 11 last year with a junior-heavy team. Ridgeline dominated the region en route to a 10-0 record with a team of sophomores and freshmen.
This year’s Bears team is senior-heavy, with guards Lexi Westmoreland, Bentley Lorimer, Gracie Riley and Jenna LaCroix returning along with posts Crystal Park and Shaylee McKee.
Riley was the team’s leading scorer last year at 9.5 points per game, along with 5.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals. LaCroix averaged 6.7 points and Westmoreland averaged 4.4 rebounds.
“A team strength is their eagerness to learn and get better. The seniors play really well together,” Pugsley said.
One hurdle for the players, of course, is learning how a new coaching staff operates as well as getting used to the 35-second shot clock.
The Bears won’t have a home game until Dec. 16 when they host Stansbury, followed by Box Elder (Dec. 20), Salem Hills (Jan. 4) and Union (Jan. 6). Region play starts on Jan. 13.
In 2A Region 17, St. Joseph Catholic returns four contributors this season and Masen White takes over as a first-time head coach.
Senior Sarah Snell (10.6 points, 9.3 rebounds), senior Lexy Bombela (3.5 points, 4.4 rebounds), sophomore Katelyn Martinez (5.5 points) and sophomore Lizzie Randall (6.9 points) are the Jayhawks’ four returners on an otherwise new-looking team.
“Besides my four returning players, the game of basketball is new to most of my team. My coaching staff and I are breaking it down from scratch. However, this is also a positive because none of my players have developed bad habits yet,” White said.
St. Joseph went 9-9 overall and 5-2 in Region 17 last year, which was second behind APA-Draper’s mark of 5-0. The Jayhawks beat Waterford in the first round of the playoffs and lost to Kanab in the second round.
Currently, they’re 2-1 with an overtime win at Maeser Prep and a 30-point win at Rockwell. St. Joseph will host both Ogden (Dec. 20) and Ben Lomond (Jan. 6) before Region 17 play starts. White replaced Jamaal Jenkins, who spent last season coaching both the boys and girls teams at SJC, as head coach.
Utah Military Academy (in Riverdale) went 3-8 last year with two wins coming against its sister campus, UMA-Camp Williams. The Thunderbirds are 0-1 this season, having lost 41-21 to Altamont on Nov. 18. Additional information about the team wasn’t provided.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.