BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL – The Viewmont Lady Vikings girls’ basketball team was one of the top-ranked teams in all of 5A last season.
A 19-3 overall record, and a clean 10-0 sweep in its region games, had the team in high spirits when it entered the state tournament.
But after a first-round loss to Fremont, coach Clint Straatman said the postseason loss came down to one concern: the team playing as a team.
“What we found out was (the players) thought they could get by with their individual talents,” he said. “So this year we’re really focusing hard on being a team.”
The goal will be difficult to accomplish early on, however, as the team moves back to Region 1 after a brief two years in Region 2.
Although the Lady Vikings played Fremont and Layton last year as part of its preseason schedule, Straatman felt that playing through its region games was more of a hindrance.
“It was hard for us to play in Region 2 last year,” he said. “I didn’t feel like it really prepared us for a playoff run. We won the last three or four games in region play by 30-plus points, so we had to schedule a tougher preseason schedule and hoped that it would help us be better once we got to state.”
This season the schedule is tougher, and Straatman likes it that way. The Vikings will have Mountain Crest to open the season, and will play Bountiful, Springville and Brighton before playing in the Nike Tournament to wrap up the preseason schedule.
“That Nike Tournament will have some of the best teams in the country there,” he said. “If we do well there, we will play well during region play.”
The Vikings will return four starters this season. Among them are leading scorers Caitlyn Larsen and Katie Toole, a senior and junior respectively.
Larsen led the team in scoring last season, averaging 17.8 points per game. Toole was right behind her, scoring 15.4 points per game.
“We’re going to rely heavily on Larsen to help this team succeed,” Straatman said. “Katie has been heavily recruited, and continues to work hard in order to play at a high level.”
Collette West, a senior, also returns to the floor after being named a 5A All-State honorable mention last season. Straatman said she’s already playing at a high level, and “is underrated, but will really have the opportunity to shine this season.”
Tana Singley will be a solid returning piece to the Vikings this season, said Straatman. Singley tore her ACL last season, but has worked very hard to make a return “possibly midway through the preseason,” he said.
Kauri Tye, a great rebounder according to Straatman, will also be looked at to provide some senior leadership to the squad once they get on the court.
“I’m very excited to get back to Region 1,” he said. “In that region, you can probably lose one or two games and still have a shot at a region title because it’s so tough. Any of those teams have a chance to win it, but with all of our experience coming back, we should have a shot at winning it and going far in state.”