With the midway point of the 1A girls basketball season quickly approaching, things seem to be working out as most of the interested onlookers expected.

Nearly every coach that voted in the preseason rankings selected Valley as the team to beat and the Buffaloes have yet to disappoint their peers. Despite losing four key seniors off a team that went 23-1 and won the state title last year, Valley has proven itself worthy of its No. 1 ranking. The Buffs are 9-1 to date, playing mostly teams in higher classifications. Valley's only loss came in a 16-team tournament in Page, Ariz., earlier this month."The kids coming in have filled in and done a good job," head coach Ferril Heaton said. "We're not quite there yet but we don't want to be until February anyway."

Led by last year's 1A MVP Tiana Heaton, the Buffs have a balanced scoring attack and are 2-0 in the early going of play in Region 15 after squeezing out a three-point home win over third-ranked Enterprise.

Meanwhile, the Wolves will have a second chance at Valley later this season to gain the region crown and also avenge last year's loss in the state championship game. Enterprise is 6-2 with a few wins over higher classification schools as well.

The Wolves return all five starters from last year and head coach Brian Phelps feels the key to his team's success will be its depth and defensive game.

Wayne is another team that makes Region 15 extremely tough. The Badgers are 5-3 with guard Nissa Potter playing a big role. Panguitch has also thrown its hat into the contender ring with a good 6-3 start.

In Region 16 it appears that Rich and Duchesne are the cream of the crop. Under first-year head coach Scott Ferguson the Rebels are off to a 5-0 start. Rich uses a ball movement offense to capitalize on its speed with point guard Margo Groll leading the ship.

Rachelle Nielsen and her 16-point average have helped Duchesne to a 6-1 record that includes a big win over Timpview, the second-ranked team in 4A. The play of Codie Farley in the middle also plays a vital role for the Eagles' success.

Altamont has also started the season strong with a 4-1 mark.

Rowland Hall-St. Marks may just be the hottest team not only in Region 14 but in all of 1A. The fifth-ranked Winged Lions are a perfect 10-0 overall and 6-0 in region play.

RHSM has two of the top scorers in 1A with center Megan Williams and guard Alli Miller each averaging 16 points an outing.

The other top contenders in Region 14's East Division are Intermountain Christian and Manila. After a successful volleyball campaign this year, most of the girls have moved to the hoops for ICS, including Katie Hill and Amy Shogren. Those two are hoping for the same results during their winter sport. The Lions are 8-1 overall with their only loss coming to Rowland Hall-St. Marks.

Manila has also fallen to the Winged Lions but will always be a factor with 6-foot-2 Amanda Asay.

In Region 14's West Division, the Dugway Mustangs have bucked their way out of the gates to a 7-1 record. Head coach Betsy Swynenburg has a tall, quick team that boasts three of the top scorers in 1A with Lizz Smith netting 16 points and 14-point averages for Mary Ann Beckstrand and freshman guard Heidi Bruce.