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HIgh school basketball: Kearns uses preseason for chemistry building

Cougars dominate in 23-point win over young Jordan team

SHARE HIgh school basketball: Kearns uses preseason for chemistry building

KEARNS — If the Kearns women's basketball team finds its identity, it could be a very interesting Region 3 race this winter.

"The chemistry has been building throughout the preseason," said Kearns coach Emily Williams after the Cougars earned a non-region win over Jordan, 53-30. "I'm hoping by the time region starts, they'll be able to see the passes they need to make. Today, we still forced a lot."

The Cougars jumped out to an early lead against the Beetdiggers, a team that graduated all but one starter. Led by junior point guard Christen Lopez and senior forward Brooke Larsen, the young Cougars showed they are a versatile and athletic team.

"We're starting to mesh," said Williams. "Except for our last two games, we've had a different leading scorer. It's been very equal."

Larsen led the Cougars in scoring Tuesday with 15 points and 13 rebounds. She dominated the paint with her biggest challenge coming from Jordan sophomore Madison Naylor who earned four blocked shots in the game and played well against the Cougars' post players.

Larsen and Lopez said they see their roles this season as more than just leading the team. They want to inspire their teammates to play at a higher level.

"We just try to make them confident in themselves," said Larsen, who admits she's a more vocal leader.

Lopez, a self-described "whisperer," said, "I think We just need a lot more people to step up their game."

If that happens, both players and coaches believe they can compete with anyone.

"They know what we have to face in our region," said Williams. "But I think they also know they have more than just one or two players to rely on. The team aspect is really coming out. If they play together, we should be alright."

Kearns got nice performances from freshman Micaelee Orton, who finished with nine points, Mary Luna, who added six points and Dallas Vega, who finished with six points.

Jordan was led offensively by Kim Marriott, who scored seven points, and Luciana Soares, who added six points. Defensively, senior Steph Burt and Naylor led the way.

Williams is now preparing her team for the transition from preseason games to region contests.

"We've played some good teams," she said. "We're just going to play one game at a time. We'll learn, and we get to play each team twice. A lot happens in our region ... you never know. They are all rivalry games for us. They get excited to play anyone in our region."

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com