BOUNTIFUL — Van Price didn’t want his words confused Thursday night: This is the oddest year he has experienced in nearly 40 years of coaching.
The Farmington High mentor, who turned Layton into a girls basketball powerhouse before moving down the road, hadn’t seen his team play for two weeks until it met the Bountiful Braves on Thursday.
Fortunately for him, his Phoenix were hungry to get on the court, and Farmington remained unbeaten in Region 5 play with a 45-23 victory.
Much of the game wasn’t pretty, but Abigail Ferrell scored 12 points, Delaney Baker had 11 and Haley McFarland added 10 as Farmington improved its record to 8-1 and got back on the winning track after a 53-44 loss to highly touted Lehi back on Dec. 30.
That was back in 2020. To Price, it seemed like a long time ago because every day since he has had to deal with normal in-season issues like teaching, coaching practice and scouting opponents, plus the unique problems coronavirus has created.
“We had four girls out this last week,” he said. “It makes it difficult when you don’t know who is going to play. For our girls, though, this is their outlet. They want to be out on the court and we need to play as much as we can to develop team chemistry and get better before the state tournament.”
Farmington improved to 2-0 in region. After an 8-3 start, Bountiful fell to the bottom of the standings by losing its region opener. Braves coach Joel Burton just shrugged his shoulders as his team committed 16 turnovers in the first half and went seven minutes in the second period without a basket.
That helped Farmington take a 16-9 lead, but the Phoenix put the game away when Ferrell got hot. She scored 10 of her points in the third period as the Phoenix expanded the lead to 20 points, which also reduced Price’s stress level.
Burton said his squad was missing several players, too, but has been able play through it, with four games in the last two weeks. He noted the Braves had trouble dealing with Farmington’s frequent defensive changes. They seemed to solve that problem in the second half, but couldn’t muster a rally because they made just 9 of 39 shots (23%) and were 0 for 9 from 3-point range.
Emrie Satuala had a good game with seven points, nine rebounds and a couple of blocked shots.
But 23 points — easily the Braves’ season low — won’t win many games. Burton said Bountiful faces the same challenge as Farmington and every other school, and also has the added concern of the school’s mascot change, which is supposed to be revealed next month. They will also need to eventually redecorate the gym and get a new floor.
“Right now, though, we’re just glad to be out here and playing,” he said. “We’ll work as hard as we can and make the best of it.”