ST. GEORGE – With the falls sports winding down, the Region 9 teams were hitting the hardwood to gear up for the upcoming season. With the realignment, Canyon View has taken Region 9 to seven teams. Out of the seven teams competing in girls basketball, four have new coaches.
Three teams received top votes. Hurricane was a slight favorite over Cedar and Pine View, the two teams that tied for second. They were followed by Snow Canyon, Desert Hills, Dixie and Canyon View.
“Desert Hills is the surprise in this poll,” said Cedar head coach Corry Nielson. “I know (DHHS) lost a lot and the teams in front of them are returning most, if not all, of their players, but Desert Hills has a strong program from top to bottom.”
The coaches were polled earlier this week. They gave their predictions on how the teams would fare in region play and also voted for the player most likely to have the most dominant impact in region play. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players. Unlike previous years, where the top votes went to one player, this year five separate girls each received at least one preseason player-of-the-year vote. Those five were also the top vote-getters and make up the Region 9 preseason first team.
PV’s Claire Newby received three POY votes and finished nine points ahead of Cedar’s Dream Weaver at the top. Joining them on the first team were Weaver’s teammate, Carley Davis, along with Hurricane’s Jayden Langford and Snow Canyon’s Tylei Jensen. Newby and Langford were first-team selections at the end of last year. The remaining three on the first team were either second or third team post-season selections in the spring.
PRESEASON REGION 9 GIRLS BASKETBALL POLL
1. Hurricane 38 (3)
2. Cedar 36 (3)
2. Pine View 36 (1)
4. Snow Canyon 30
5. Desert Hills 27
6. Dixie 18
7. Canyon View 11
REGION 9 PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Claire Newby, Pine View
Last year, Newby averaged 11.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 1.7 blocks. “Claire Newby is a player coaches love to coach,” Pine View head coach Chris Brinagh said. “She is coachable. She learns quickly. She is a three-year starter. We call her the quiet assassin. She is not a talker. She leads by her play. When she does speak, it’s best to listen. She is a good floor general.”
Dream Weaver has also played since her freshman year and is also a three-year starter. Selected on the second team at the end of last year Weaver averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.5 steals on a very balanced Cedar team that went further than any other Region 9 team in the tournament. “Dream can play all five positions,” Coach Nielsen said. “She can hit the outside shot consistently and can also take it to the hoop. She also is our best defender.” Weaver is a multi-sport athlete and has already accepted a softball scholarship at Southern Utah.
Jayden Langford is the returning leading scorer in the region at 12.1 ppg last year. She also averaged 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals. Langford joins Weaver and Newby as seniors that have started three years. “Jayden is a hard worker that has developed her skills through drive and determination,” Hurricane head coach Franci Homer said. “She is a good practice player. She goes 100 percent in practice. That has inspired her teammates to also put out maximum effort. She has elevated her teammates with her example.”
Carley Davis joins Weaver as the only set of teammates on the first team. Davis was selected to the second team last year. Davis emerged into the spotlight with inspired play in the Utah state championship two years ago as a sophomore. She carried that momentum and confidence into last season averaging 9.3 points and 6.0 rebounds. “Carley is an incredible athlete,” Coach Nielsen said. “She is very quick and agile for her size and also has great vertical jump. She can play all three frontcourt positions. She comes from a great basketball family (brother Kyle started for BYU). She has developed an outside shot and ball handling skills since last year.”
Tylei Jensen rounds out the first team. The diminutive sophomore is the youngest and the smallest player to make the team. Last year she averaged 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.6 assists. “Tylei is a great combination of good work ethic and talent,” Snow Canyon head coach Ryan Rarick said. “While she is not the most intimidating figure on the court you can’t ignore her or she will make you pay. Sometimes I have to rein her in because she tries to do too much. Motivation is never an issue with her.”
Making the second team were Saraven Allen from Pine View, Japrix Weaver from Cedar, Madi Hirschi from Hurricane, Madi Clark and Jess Mathis from Desert Hills and Melaine Kata from Snow Canyon.
Claire Newby, Pine View 56 (3)
Dream Weaver, Cedar 47 (1)
Jayden Langford, Hurricane 44 (1)
Carley Davis, Cedar 38 (1)
Tylei Jensen, Snow Canyon 34 (1)
Saraven Allen, Pine View 32
Japrix Weaver, Cedar 29
Madi Hirschi, Hurricane 22
Madi Clark, Desert Hills 20
Jess Mathis, Desert Hills 18
Melaine Kata, Snow Canyon 18
Honorable Mention (others receiving votes): Canyon View – Jordan Nielson; Desert Hills – Samantha Crane; Dixie – Sina Schwalger, Daisy Owens, Breezie Fakatoumafi; Hurricane – Kylee Stevens, Alexa Christensen; Pine View – Dawn Mead; Snow Canyon – Allie Parr, Olivia Harris, Sammi Johnston
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