Despite losing all but one player from last year's state championship team, the expectations are high for the Beaver girls basketball team this winter.
"Hannah Snyder, our 6-2 post player, is the only starter we have back," said head coach Jon Marshall, who has made the Beavers a perennial power in girls basketball. "I knew with our young kids coming up, I thought we had a chance to do pretty good. Lexi Moss moving in (from Layton High) really helped us. I think she's the best guard in the classification."
Moss, a senior, is averaging nearly 14 points per game, while Synder adds nearly nine points per game.
Still, Marshall has coached long enough to know, regardless of the lineup, there are no guarantees when it comes to the state playoffs.
"We're hoping to be there," he said.
While nothing is certain, it's likely that if Beaver does advance deep into the playoffs, the squad will face a familiar foe. Region rival Enterprise was voted the No. 2 team in preseason 2A polls.
"Enterprise is a very good team," Marshall said. "If you're going to do well in the tournament, Enterprise is a team you're going to have to beat. They're one of the top teams in the state. And (Tressa) Lyman is an outstanding player."
Lyman, a senior who will play volleyball for Idaho State, is averaging 15.5 points per game, while teammate Jodi Williams adds another 14.4 points per game.
Just getting the top seed in Region 13 will be tough, as Kanab, Parowan and Millard are some of the top squads in the classification.
"It's interesting how it goes in cycles," Marshall said of the depth of the region. "A few years ago, it was Richfield, South Sevier, North Sevier, and last year it kind of turned into our region. We have probably five of the top seven teams in the state."
Playing in a deep region can make getting a good seed difficult, but in the end, Marshall said it is to a team's advantage.
"You play those teams that are tough and then you get in the tourney and that should prepare you for what you're going to see," he said.
Parowan is led by Chennin Benson, who averages nearly 13 points per game, and Rickie Warr, who averages 14.7 points per game. Millard is led by Krystyn Stevens, who averages nearly 13 points per game, while Kanab is led by Samantha Houston and Calli Jackson, who average 7.7 and 8.4 points per game, respectively.
No team from Region 13 will earn a title without battling the top teams from other regions.
South Sevier, San Juan and North Sevier are all contenders from Region 15.
North Summit, South Summit and Layton Christian could all be in the mix from Region 14.
North Summit is led by Kaitlyn Rowser, who averages 8.3 points, and Cassidy Stephens, who adds 6.8 points per game. South Summit has a very balanced offense with BreeAnn Buckner and Abby Peterson leading the way.
Deseret News 2A region projections
Note: Projections were picked by Deseret News staff, with input from coaches.
6. Cross Creek Academy
1. North Summit
2. South Summit
3. Layton Christian
6. Rowland Hall
1. South Sevier
2. San Juan
3. North Sevier1 comment on this story