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Mountain View squads optimistic

Bruins girls team is favored to win state 5A title this year

Point guard Taylor Williams and forward/center Peter Tuitupou hope to help Mountain View achieve success in the 2005-06 season.
Point guard Taylor Williams and forward/center Peter Tuitupou hope to help Mountain View achieve success in the 2005-06 season.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

OREM — Optimism and confidence best describe the upcoming season for the basketball teams at Mountain View.

The Bruins girls team returns the state's best player and a host of other experienced players that should return the team back to the top of Utah's basketball scene. They are the favorites to not only win the Region 4 title but the state title as well. Moving up to Class 5A is a challenge that this team seems ready to meet. Losing in the quarterfinals last year has only made the Bruins more focused and determined.

The boys team has been one of the state's best the past two seasons, but they'll begin this

campaign a little on the inexperienced side. However, those who will take the court for the Bruins this year were part of those teams and were seasoned some by their practice experience. Being around winning teams has a way of rubbing off, and the Bruins believe they know what it takes to be successful.

GIRLS: Once again, the Bruin girls are all the rage. Even though they lost to Timpview in the quarterfinals of the state tournament last year, they're still the team to beat as far as everyone in 5A girls basketball is concerned.

One big reason for the confidence people across the state have in Mountain View is the return of Michelle Harrison, widely considered the top player in the state. She's a 6-foot-3 center who's played in several all-American games and even added the slam dunk to her repertoire over the summer.

"I've been trying for a long time," said Harrison. "But last summer one time during practice it just happened. I've been doing it ever since. Now, I just have to do it during a game."

She's an all-around versatile player and knows how to garner all-state honors. She adds shot-blocking and rebounding to her great scoring and ball-handling skills. And she'll be playing alongside one of the best point guards in the state, Maylene Ornelas, who is also in her second year with the Bruins.

"Maylene has improved her game a lot over the summer and has a lot of colleges looking at her," said Mountain View coach Dave Houle. "Our style will be a little different this year. We're going to be really versatile and balanced inside and out."

But other teams can still count on seeing the vaunted Mountain View press and the full-court run-and-gun offense because the team is loaded with ball-handlers and good shooters.

And Houle is not ashamed to say that he knows the Bruins have a target on their backs, and he thinks it's well-deserved. "We're the team to beat," he said.

BOYS: Even though coach Jason Young lost the meat of his roster from last season's title-contending team, he likes the makeup of this year's squad and feels the 2005-06 version is more versatile than teams of years past. They have good team speed, they're athletic and they have good size on the front line.

"We're more of the stereotypical kind of team this year," Young said. "We've got a true center, true forwards and true guards, where last year we were more like four guards and four forwards."

Only two players return with much varsity experience, but the Bruins have a host of players that had good showings last season on the junior varsity team. Young admits that the team's key to success will depend on how quickly the new guys learn, adjust and mature.

"We're going to be good, it's just a matter of how quickly we improve and grow from the early games," he said. "We have some kids who are just going to have to step up and fill some big shoes, but I'm optimistic that they can do it."

The Bruins will again be a run-and-gun team, trying to take advantage of their strong guard line. Even though they're again a good shooting team, the Bruins will have to play strong defensively in order to be among the league's top teams.

"We always build our kids from day one that they need to play scrappy defense and push the ball up the floor. Necessity might make us invent something else later on, but for now that's how we'll continue to be," Young said.

Mountain View Bruins: boys basketball

Class: 5A

League: Region 4

Last season: 17-5, second in Region 7, lost in overtime in quarterfinals

Predicted 2005-06 region finish: Fourth

Head coach: Jason Young, 5th year

Assistant coaches: Buddy Ivie, Jeff Biddulph, Tim Moake, Nick Tippetts and Jay Cheesman

Key returning players: Taylor Williams, 6-foot-1 guard, Sr.; Peter Tuitupou, 6-foot-5 forward, Sr.; Robert Ruiz, 6-foot-1 guard, Sr.

Newcomers: Taylor Russell, 5-foot-11 guard, Jr.; Alex Winder, 6-foot guard, Sr.; Jayson Cheesman, 6-foot-9 center, Sr.; Colin Young, 6-foot-2 forward, Sr.

Schedule (Home games in bold)

Nov. 22 — Brighton

Nov. 30 — Provo

Dec. 2 — Cyprus

Dec. 7 — TBA at E-Center

Dec. 9 — TBA at E-Center

Dec. 13 — Granger

Dec. 20 — Orem

Dec. 21 — Murray

Dec. 29 — Riverton at E-Center

Jan. 4 — Payson

Jan. 6 — Timpview

Jan. 11 — Pleasant Grove

Jan. 18 — Lone Peak

Jan. 20 — Timpanogos

Jan. 25 — Spanish Fork

Jan. 27 — American Fork

Feb. 3 — Pleasant Grove

Feb. 7 — Lone Peak

Feb. 10 — American Fork

Feb. 15 — Timpanogos

Feb. 21 — Spanish Fork

Mountain View Bruins: girls basketball

Class: 5A

League: Region 4

Last season: 20-3, first in Region 7, state quarterfinals

Predicted 2005-06 region finish: First

Head coach: Dave Houle, 19th year

Assistant coach: Laura Romo

Key returning players: Michelle Harrison, 6-foot-3 center, Sr.; Vanessa Riggs, 5-foot-8 guard, Sr.; Maylene Ornelas, 5-foot-7 guard, Sr.; Erica Eyestone, 5-foot-8 forward, Sr.

Newcomers: Natalie Hall, 5-foot-11 forward, Sr.; Jamie Stroshine, 5-foot-11 center, Jr.; Monique Smith, 5-foot-4 guard, Sr.; Alison Perkins, 5-foot-7 forward, Jr.; Brittany Mikalauski, 5-foot-10 forward/center, Sr.

Schedule (Home games in bold)

Nov. 23 — Kearns

Nov. 29 — Provo

Dec. 2 — Timpview

Dec. 6 — Alta

Dec. 13 — Fremont

Dec. 16 — Mountain Crest

Dec. 19 — TBA @ Phoenix

Dec. 20 — TBA @ Phoenix

Dec. 21 — TBA @ Phoenix

Dec. 22 — TBA @ Phoenix

Jan. 4 — Pleasant Grove

Jan. 6 — Copper Hills

Jan. 10 — American Fork

Jan. 17 — Lone Peak

Jan. 19 — Timpanogos

Jan. 25 — Spanish Fork

Jan. 31 — American Fork

Feb. 3 — Pleasant Grove

Feb. 7 — Lone Peak

Feb. 10 — Spanish Fork

Feb. 14 — Timpanogos

Next: Timpanogos