An old coaching adage is that a team is further along during the second year under a new coach as opposed to the first year. The players know vastly more about the schemes and who's good at what.
At least that's what Ogden High girls basketball coach Wesley Padilla hopes. Ogden went 5-16 last season in Padilla's first year in charge, with four of the region losses coming by single digits.
"Year 2 we know what we’re doing on offense, defensively we’re a lot quicker on an off the ball. The cohesion of this group is far beyond where we were last year," Padilla said.
The Tigers have mostly juniors, sophomores and seven freshman — they're not fielding a freshman team — but Padilla thinks they might have the right mix to improve.
Padilla says they have height in the sophomore class — Lucy Ballard is 6-foot-1 and Grace Pulley is a 6-footer — and strong leadership from the team's two seniors, Kate Lowry and Gracie Fergus.
"We’re extremely young, man," Padilla said. "We have a solid crew coming back and I’m really excited about it. We’re young, we’re fast, we’re athletic, we’re tall."
Ogden's keeping its tough non-region schedule intact with games against Bountiful, Farmington and defending 4A champion Cedar on the docket.
Ben Lomond High lost starting forward LaDeitra Hobson to graduation; Hobson is playing college basketball at Western Wyoming.
Chelsye Saulsberry begins the year as head coach for the Scots, technically making it her first full year after she was named interim head coach midway through last season.
Ben Lomond's also taking on a challenging non-region slate with games at Sky View, Kearns, Roy and Provo. The Ogden-Ben Lomond games are on Jan. 7 at Ogden and Feb. 4 at Ben Lomond.
Ogden and Ben Lomond's region has seen a lot of changes. They're in Region 10 instead of Region 11 now. Bonneville and Park City are now in 5A, and new school Cedar Valley is in Region 10.
An overwhelming portion of Juan Diego's team returns and both Tooele schools figure to be in the mix in Region 10.
Around 4A, defending state champion Cedar returns most of its team that went 25-0 last year. Three of the eight 4A quarterfinalists last year are now in 5A. Ridgeline and Green Canyon are two teams to watch in the postseason.
Region 11: Bear River
Speaking of Ridgeline and Green Canyon, that's just part of a daunting region schedule for Bear River.
GC and Logan have Division-I talent on their teams while Ridgeline went 22-4 last year and returns several key players.
So, about Bear River.
The Bears have a new head coach, Tyrell Neal, and return leading scorer McKenzie Bywater (11 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals per game).
Technically, Bear River moves from Region 12 to Region 11, but the teams are all the same.
Region 13: Morgan
Morgan returns leading scorer Ashlyn Morrell (10.6 points, 8.2 rebounds per game) and Sydney Cragun (9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.0 steals) among a big returning group.
Sterling Mack begins his second year as head coach for the Trojans.
Defending Region 13 champion Grantsville figures to be the favorite, along with Judge Memorial.
Emery, the defending 3A state champion which went 25-0 last year, lost several seniors, so the 3A field looks pretty open.
St. Joseph Catholic High School is 1-1 to start to the year (2A and 3A began play last week) with a 34-17 home win over Intermountain Christian and an 80-15 road loss to 3A Judge Memorial.
The Jayhawks' five leading scorers last year, led by Standard-Examiner All-Area First Teamer Virginia Tomon, all graduated. Kelsey Henry is in her second year as head coach.
Layton Christian graduated leading scorer Danyale Thomas, who's playing at Western Wyoming now. The Eagles hired Jeremy Jones as new coach, who had a successful spell at Malad High in Idaho.
So far, LCA is 2-0 with big wins over Altamont (48-27) and American Heritage (72-20), and with just one senior on the roster. Patricia Ramirez (16 points per game), Marina Crespi (11 ppg) and Cati Crespi (10 ppg) are averaging double-figure scoring.
Utah Military Academy has six seniors on a roster of 11.
Success has been hard to come by for the Riverdale school but the Thunderbirds won five games last year, the most in school history, according to MaxPreps.
These three teams were in Region 16 last year with North Summit, Duchesne and Altamont. Now, SJC, LCA and UMA are in Region 17 exclusively with other private and charter schools: American Prep-West Valley, Rockwell, Rowland Hall and Waterford.