BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL – The Bountiful boys’ basketball team had a strong 2012-2013 season, finishing with 21 overall wins and an unblemished Region 6 record before dropping to Orem on a miracle shot in the 4A state playoffs.
Although it was a tough loss for the team, coach Mike Maxwell is preparing his team to once again make a strong run at a state title for the 2013 season.
“You want to win those championships,” he said. “That game against Orem was just one of those things that happens, and it was tough, but the team we’re going to have this year is probably the best team I’ve ever coached here, so we’re going to make sure we’re successful as soon as possible.”
The biggest barometer to the team’s potential success will be at the Tarkanian Classic Tournament in Las Vegas in mid-December.
There, the Braves will face national power Mater Dei for their very first game, and will play at least three games over the weekend tournament.
“If you want to be the best, you have to play the best teams and get after them,” said Maxwell. “Bingham is another tough team and so is American Fork. We have a tough schedule for a reason.”
The Braves will have six players that will see some playing time this season, including many returning starters. Sam Merrill, a returning senior, is a 6-4 guard that is “pretty tough, and has the size and strength that makes other team’s tough to match,” said Maxwell.
Junior Zach Seljaas will also see time at guard, and at six-feet, seven-inches tall, will be difficult to deal with as well.
“You don’t get many 6-7 guards,” said Maxwell. “You can’t get big or small kids on him because he can beat you either way.”
A pair of centers, Jeff Pollard and Andrew Lund, are both 6-8, and will be tough to handle playing the middle of the floor. Jordan Bleak, expected to play point guard, has worked hard by “taking about 32,000 shots over the summer,” according to Maxwell, and has the ability to shoot from just about anywhere on the floor.
The man expected to take Bleak’s place as the sixth man is Trevor Lloyd, who is coming off the football field to play for Maxwell on the basketball court.
The biggest advantage the Braves will have this season is size, but Maxwell said it isn’t something high school players necessarily know how to hone until the season gets moving.
“They have the height and the strength, but sometimes they don’t know how to use it,” he said. “Our job as coaches is to make sure they take advantage of being stronger and faster.”
Overall, Maxwell believes that getting back to where they were last year will be a journey.
“Winning is the ultimate goal, of course,” he said. “The players have worked hard, so we’ll see what happens.”
Braves 2013-2014 schedule
12-6 @ Viewmont
12-10 @ Layton
12-13 AMERICAN FORK
12-19 to 12-21 @ Tarkanian Classic (Las Vegas)
12-28 @ Corner Canyon
1-8 @ Judge Memorial
1-22 WOODS CROSS
1-28 @ Clearfield
2-4 @ Kearns
2-7 JUDGE MEMORIAL
2-14 @ Woods Cross
2-18 @ Highland
2-25 @ Cyprus
3-4 to 3-8 State 4A Tournament (University of Utah)