BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL С For the first time under Joel Burton’s tenure, the Bountiful girls’ basketball team won the Region 6 championship after posting a 9-1 record in league play.
A quarterfinal loss in the playoffs, combined with many of the Lady Braves’ key players now gone, has given Burton a new challenge, however, as he hopes to get the team on the right track as early as possible.
“I want to see the team gel,” he said. “We did a lot over the spring and summer, and all we can do now is to try to get better every day in practice and during every game.”
In order to accomplish that, Bountiful will have to rely on its one returning starter from that region championship team.
Though Burton said repeating as region champions will be difficult, he believes the leadership that can be provided will do a lot for the team.
The lone returnee to the starting five will be Tiana Dougher, one of the team’s top overall performers last season. During the Lady Braves’ region title run, Dougher averaged 11.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
“She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve had, and the younger players are asking a lot of questions already,” Burton said. “She’s not one of those very vocal leaders, but she’s a leader by example.”
Another leader Burton said he’s going to rely on is Christina Plank, who will likely see playing time as the point guard. Plank is making the transition from soccer to basketball, but Burton believes she’ll be a solid leader on the team.
An inside presence to the team’s chemistry this season will be Linette McLachland.
At six-feet, two-inches tall, Burton said she “will be good to have on the inside.”
Sophomores Kennedy Redding and Amy Chidester are two more players that could see some playing time this season.
Redding “runs really well and moves the ball well,” said Burton.
“She’s a coach’s dream,” he said. “She does a lot of things very well.”
The season, though long, will be an unknown for Burton and the Lady Braves, but he’s excited to get back on the basketball court nonetheless.
“I’m really excited for this (season),” he said. “There are a lot of unknowns, and it will be tough to follow up on our region title run, but I do expect us to compete every night.”
Bountiful was 15-8 last season, and was 9-1 in Region 6.
12-4 @ Olympus
12-10 @ Riverton
12-20 Bear River
12-31 @ Davis
1-7 @ Cyprus
1-10 @ Kearns
1-14 Judge Memorial
1-17 @ East
1-22 Woods Cross
1-28 @ Clearfield
2-7 @ Judge Memorial
2-14 @ Woods Cross
2-18 @ Highland
2-24 to 3-1 State 4A tournament (Salt Lake Community College)