Girls basketball preview: Sizing up Northern Utah high school teams in Region 5
Below is an alphabetical, team-by-team look at area high school girls basketball teams in 5A Region 5. Region games begin Wednesday, Jan. 3.
Last season, Bonneville went 4-16 overall, winless in Region 5 and missed the playoffs. The Lakers didn’t win a game once the calendar changed to 2023. They graduated their top two scorers, Libby Jensen and Hailee Cherry.
The Lakers are currently 1-1 with a 33-point loss to Syracuse and a two-point win at Farmington on the books. They play again next week with four games in the revamped Burchell Classic tournament, which Bonneville High will help host.
Additional information about this year’s team wasn’t provided.
Box Elder went 8-15 last year and 2-8 in Region 5, with six of the eight wins coming by single digits, and lost to Jordan in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bees graduated three seniors, including their leading rebounder and two of the top four leading scorers. They start five seniors this year: returning starters Ashlyn Wight (11.1 points per game) and Olivia Godfrey (6.7 points), plus rotation players Kamri Anderson, Kaydence Barber and Madi Thurgood, all three of whom played significant time last year.
“We plan to be aggressive on defense and create scoring opportunities off of turnovers. Our team can play at a really good pace. It will be exciting to see how things work out,” head coach Aaron Dooley said.
On the other side of that, Dooley said depth is an issue, and an aggressive defense on a high-paced team will test the depth early.
“Girls with no varsity experience are going to have to step in and make big contributions for us to be successful this season,” Dooley said.
Box Elder has a three-game tournament in Orlando, Florida, from Dec. 14-16, and a tough non-region schedule with games against Syracuse and Green Canyon.
Clearfield ran out a super young team last year, started 8-3, then finished 8-14 and 2-10 in 6A Region 1 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. The Falcons move into 5A Region 5 after years of toiling in Region 1.
The Falcons bring back a still-young team but with four returning starters and a handful of bench players returning.
Sophomores Izzy Wyaskett, Amoree Scholer and Brighton Bernards, and junior Xiyah Yarbrough, are the four returning starters. Wyaskett, a guard, led the team in scoring, assists and steals last year. Scholer led the team in rebounding and was second in scoring, but missed the back half of the season with a torn ACL.
Second-year head coach JT Soter said the team is very quick and athletic, but youth and inexperience are some of the team’s big challenges.
Yarbrough and Bernards were the next two leading scorers last season. Clearfield also brings back seniors Nevea Cordova and Julia Smith off the bench, junior Gretchen Higley and sophomores Destini Gomez and Jayla Kearns.
The Falcons are seen as a potential middle-of-the-table team but with a chance to play well in a competitive region. So far, they’re 2-0 with double-digit wins over Granger and Ogden. They have Springville at home next Tuesday in what should be a good measuring-stick game.
Last season, Northridge went 13-10 overall and tied for second place in the region at 6-4. The Knights beat Cedar Valley in the first round of the playoffs, then lost to Highland in the second round.
They graduated leading scorer Madison Hosino, who’s now playing collegiately at Snow College, and second-leading rebounder Aubree Reeve.
The Knights are currently 0-1 and play again in next week’s four-game Burchell Classic. Additional information about this year’s team wasn’t provided.
Roy moves into Region 5, its long-preferred destination, after two years in 6A Region 2. The Royals were 6-16 last year, 6-6 in region play and lost to Syracuse in the first round of the playoffs.
Under first-year head coach Hailee Parry, Roy brings back several starters and rotation players, led by senior post Nicole Williams, junior post Jerzee Hart, senior guards Sienna Bodily and Alyea Martinez, and sophomore guard Jazzi Prieto.
Williams was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season. Three more juniors who got playing time last year return: Ariana Strain, Ellie Speredon and Anna Fisher.
“We are deep on the bench this year. We have a lot of girls that can come in and make an impact. We are scrappy and aggressive on defense,” Parry said.
Buying into a new coach and coaching style is expected to be the biggest challenge for Roy this season. The Royals should be competitive in Region 5, but they’re viewed more as a potential middle or bottom-half team in the region.
As of Thursday, the Royals were 1-1 with a 56-52 loss to Riverton and a 43-40 win over Weber. In the Riverton game, they were down 21 at halftime before nearly coming all the way back. Against Weber, Strain went 4 for 5 on 3-pointers.
AROUND THE REGION
Bountiful won the state championship and went 10-0 in Region 5 last year, returns two starters and a couple of rotation players — so once again, the region’s coaches feel Bountiful is the team to beat.
The Redhawks are 1-2 so far, but with losses against 6A contenders Westlake and Lone Peak. They have a tough non-region schedule, so it wouldn’t shock anyone if they come into region play with a couple more losses.
Viewmont and Woods Cross, both of which tied for second in the region with Northridge, return anywhere from a couple to a few starters and contributors. Both teams should be tough games for the rest of the region.
AROUND THE STATE
Bountiful, by way of being defending state champions and having a handful of returning starters and contributors, is one of the preseason title favorites, along with Brighton and West. Springville, the state runner-up that won back-to-back state titles in 2021-22 and which has had four straight 20-win seasons, will have a mostly new lineup but is still seen as a possible contender.