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New stars are emerging at American Fork

Adrienne Schneider, left, Amber Sumsion and Sabrina Wiscombe will lead American Fork's girls basketball team.
Adrienne Schneider, left, Amber Sumsion and Sabrina Wiscombe will lead American Fork's girls basketball team.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

AMERICAN FORK — The upcoming basketball season at American Fork High could be a lot like the creation of a new galaxy. A lot of new stars could be born over the next few months on the Cavemen's hardwood floor.

Most of the big names from the 2004-05 Cavemen boys and girls teams are gone. That might leave some coaches a little down in the mouth, wondering how they're ever going to fill the void. But not those at American Fork. Both squads have a lot of promising young players and both squads are balanced across the roster.

Even though the names of those scoring the points might be a bit unfamiliar to American Fork fans for the first few weeks of the season, there's plenty of talented Cavemen players who are capable of handling the new weight on their shoulders.

BOYS: Normally a coach that loses

the top four scorers from his starting lineup would show signs of concern. However, Cavemen coach Doug Meacham is feeling pretty optimistic these days about his new version of basketball talent.

The team's makeup might look much different than last year's bunch, but this group also should be capable of doing things that last year's team could not. For one, the Cavemen should be more versatile. Also, with good depth the Cavemen should be able to apply more defensive pressure because the fatigue factor of rotating only six or seven players into the lineup will not come into play. In fact, Meacham said he has several players who are enthusiastic about making a name for themselves with their defensive skills.

"We have a bunch of kids that will get right in your face the minute they step on the court," he said.

The Cavemen also have seven players who suited up for the school's top-notch football team. Meacham said these players have come into the basketball season with an extra edge of competitiveness.

"They have a toughness about them that extends to the basketball court and is contagious on their teammates," he said.

Meacham also is not too concerned about who will score the points. Opponents won't be able to focus on stopping one or two players because the entire lineup is capable of putting the ball in the hoop. The Cavemen not only have plenty of good shooters, but a host of big men as well willing to do the dirty work in the paint.

And even though the stars are gone from last year's team, guards Austin Haws, David Olsen and Brady Mason all have varsity experience and all should blossom in their new roles and added time on the floor. Every player that suited up the past two years for the Cavemen should benefit from being around those two title-contending teams.

"We have enough scoring options that I don't think putting up points will be a problem. We just need to make sure we play good defense and rebound the basketball," Meacham said.

GIRLS: The American Fork girls had high hopes for this season at the end of last year as Kaili Bennion would have had another year under her belt. However, the Cavemen suffered a huge loss when the post player moved to St. George.

"It might take a while to get used to life without Kaili because she was so much a part of what we did," said coach Corey Clayton.

They still have plenty of athletes manning the American Fork basketball court, but they don't have any height. The Cavemen hope to press and attack because they're a little concerned about their half court offense.

"I'd rather have a team that's small and can run, a team that's more athletic," said Clayton, and he also has high hopes for his young freshman, who will be playing plenty of minutes.

The freshman are "mature and play beyond their years," but they don't have any experience at the varsity level, which might make for a few nervous starts at the beginning of the year.

Freshman Haley Holmstead can play any position from point guard to power forward. "She's so versatile. She's our most gifted player. She's been in the system for a few years, so the older girls know her and accept her," Clayton added. He also has a couple of other players that know how to play big down low despite their lack of height.

Adrienne Schneider will be back to lead the team with her shooting, and Holmstead will just plain be expected to score. Kaycee Mansfield is their tallest player, and though she's another freshman, she can shoot with either hand and run the floor. Clayton thinks she is possibly his best jumper and rebounder.

But Clayton is worried that his young stars will be matched against bigger, stronger and much more experienced players. Perhaps after a year or two of seasoning under their belts, this team will make some noise, but this season appears to be more of a learning year.

Next: Lone PeakAmerican Fork Cavemen: Girls basketball

Class: 5A

League: Region 4

Last season: 6-15, tied for fourth in Region 6,

Predicted 2005-06 region finish: Fifth

Head coach: Corey Clayton, 3rd year

Assistant coaches: Kim Cooper, Brock Cooper

Key returning players: Adrienne Schneider, 5-foot-7 guard, Sr.; Amber Sumsion, 5-foot-7 forward, Sr.; Whitney Richins, 5-foot-6 guard, Sr.; Sabrina Wiscombe, 5-foot-7 guard/forward, Jr.; Joelle Mooney, 5-foot-6 forward, Sr.

Newcomers: Kaycee Mansfield, 5-foot-10 center, Fr.; Haley Holmstead, 5-foot-7 guard/forward, Fr.

Schedule (home games in bold)

Nov. 23 — Riverton

Nov. 29 — Orem

Dec. 3 — Grand Junction, CO

Dec. 7 — Bingham

Dec. 9 — Alta

Dec. 10 — TBA @ Mountain Crest HS

Dec. 21 — Olympus

Dec. 30 — Mountain Crest

Jan. 3 — Juan Diego

Jan. 5 — Hillcrest

Jan. 6 — Spanish Fork

Jan. 10 — Mountain View

Jan. 17 — Pleasant Grove

Jan. 20 — Lone Peak

Jan. 24 — Timpanogos

Jan. 31 — Mountain View

Feb. 2 — Spanish Fork

Feb. 7 — Pleasant Grove

Feb. 10 — Timpanogos

Feb. 14 — Lone PeakAmerican Fork Cavemen: Boys basketball

Class: 5A

League: Region 4

Last season: 18-5, first in Region 7, lost in quarterfinals

Predicted 2005-06 region finish: Second

Head coach: Doug Meacham, 5th year

Assistant coaches: Lynn Anderson, Jason Herrud

Key returning players: Austin Haws, 5-foot-10 guard, Sr.; David Olsen, 6-foot-3 guard, Sr.; McKay Frandsen, 6-foot-4 forward, Sr.; Jeff Toone, 6-foot-6 center, Sr.; Brady Mason, 5-foot-10 guard, Jr.

Newcomers: Brandon Beddes, 6-foot-4 forward, Jr.; Britt Wells, 6-foot-5 center, Jr.; Josh Jones, 6-foot guard, Sr.; Mason Porter, 6-foot-2 forward, Sr.

Schedule (home games in bold)

Nov. 29 — Alta

Dec. 2 — Provo

Dec. 5 — Roy at E-Center

Dec. 8 — Copper Hills or Jordan at E-Center

Dec. 9 — Viewmont

Dec. 13 — Timpview

Dec. 16 — Mountain Crest

Dec. 20 — Bingham

Dec. 29 — Jordan at E-Center

Jan. 4 — Wasatch

Jan. 6 — Orem

Jan. 11 — Spanish Fork

Jan. 18 — Pleasant Grove

Jan. 20 — Lone Peak

Jan. 25 — Timpanogos

Jan. 27 — Mountain View

Feb. 3 — Spanish Fork

Feb. 7 — Pleasant Grove

Feb. 10 — Mountain View

Feb. 15 — Lone Peak

Feb. 21 — Timpanogos