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High school girls basketball: New Lancers adjusting just fine

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Layton's Carley Nelson gets a steal as she takes the ball away from Bountiful's Chelsea Walton in the Lancers' win over the Braves.

Layton’s Carley Nelson gets a steal as she takes the ball away from Bountiful’s Chelsea Walton in the Lancers’ win over the Braves.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

LAYTON — When his only returning varsity starter decided not to play basketball this winter, Layton head coach Van Price had to adjust both his playbook and his expectations.

"There is not a returning starter out there," Price said after the 5-1 Lancers defeated Bountiful 62-23 in non-region play Tuesday. "They're playing hard. They're finding out what it is like not to have Kat."

Senior Kathryn LeCheminant, who committed to play volleyball for BYU, decided not to play basketball in order to play one more year of club volleyball. Price said he understands her decision, but the team has had to learn how to play without the player they'd designed a lot of their plays for during summer leagues. Their effort is paying dividends.

"I love these kids," Price said. "They're good kids and they work really hard."

Price adjusted both his offense and his goals and said the team is working on improving each day.

"We set some goals and we're working toward them," he said. "We're not ready to play at Bingham yet. We have some catching up to do. But Friday we have Northridge, then Fremont, Davis and Syracuse."

At 5-1 Price admits his team hasn't had to deal with discouragement yet.

"We haven't had to struggle," he said.

The Lancers didn't struggle much against the young Braves. Senior Carly Nelson, freshman Courtnee Wood and senior Jacquoy Lee each scored nine points in the win. Bountiful was led by Ashley Allred and Chelsea Walter offensively with five points each. Samantha Tooley and Walton led the team defensively.

Just making it to state will be a real battle, but Price believes they can do it.

"They know where we're at, and they work hard and fight," he said.

Senior Sheridan Black, one of the team's post players, said the squad's strength is its chemistry.

"We were all kind of nervous at the first of the year," she said. "And we've had our moments of frustration, but we're doing OK. We're all best buds, and we pick each other up rather than tear each other down."

She's confident the team can still compete for region honors.

"We're just taking it game by game," said Black, who finished with eight points. "There are a lot of hard teams (in Region 1). But that tells you how good you're going to be at state."

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com