Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Members of the Mountain View High girls basketball team, clockwise from lower left: Alyssa Olsen, Berniece Halalilo, Patricia Madsen and Caitlin Boswell.

OREM — Last season was a year for Mountain View's record books, but not in a good way.

With a combined four wins from the boys and girls basketball teams, it was a year that the Bruins would love to forget and never repeat. Fortunately, the struggles of last year should only go a long way in the rebuilding of Mountain View's strong basketball tradition. The players and coaches from both Bruins' teams feel that the rebuilding will take a huge step this season and that Mountain View basketball will again return to playoff form.

Girls: Despite a 3-17 season last year and only one returning player, the Mountain View Bruins have a lot going for them this season, and coach Laura Romo is hoping the year will be a stepping-stone to a future where the Bruins are feared as much as they once were.

Though only Alyssa Olsen returns from Mountain View's difficult year, she has shown good leadership skills in addition to handling the ball well, driving, shooting and finding her teammates. She will be joined by fellow point guard Caitlin Boswell, who has many of the same skills, and the combination of the two should allow the Bruins to run-and-gun and play a tough press, reminiscent of the good old Bruin days.

"We can finally go back to Mountain View basketball. We'll flat out press and run. We've got more athletic kids than we've had the last couple of years. It's going to be a quick-paced offense," said Romo, excited not only about the coming season but also of those to come. She has several freshmen coming up who look to be a powerful group.

The Mountain View team is very inexperienced despite starting two seniors and bringing two more off the bench. But it does have one main thing going for it. This team no longer has to play night in and night out against the toughest of 5A competition. This season the Bruins dropped into 4A and will be taking on tough Region 7 foes.

The Bruins, however, will have to fight through most of every game without much height on the floor, leading to the need to move the ball quickly.

"We have a lot of guards, and we're going to run them in and out, but we're not going to be as big," said Romo, as she noted the two bigs they do have might have a tough time running the court as quickly as she hopes her team can move. But when they do get stuck in a half-court offense, she has plenty of faith that Berniece Halalilo and Patricia Madsen can play with the best.

They will both get solid minutes, as will Christina Augustin, who Romo says can jump out of the gym and can run the floor hard.

"These kids are eager to come and play and show what they can do," said Romo, especially since they'll be doing it without nearly as much pressure on their shoulders this season.

This team could easily make the playoffs in most leagues, but Utah County has proven that in 4A basketball, it's tough to beat from top to bottom.

Boys: There are several reasons why the Bruins boys basketball team should be much better this season.

First, almost every player who had a significant role last season is back. Second, there are several outstanding underclassmen who will adequately fill in the holes left by the Bruins' departing big men. Third, the success of the football team and baseball team has at least four of Mountain View's starters knowing what it feels like to win.

"I think we're going to kind of ride that success that some of the kids have had in other sports, and I think confidence-wise we're going to be OK," coach Jeff Gardner said. "We want to show people that we can play hard and that we can compete."

Gardner doesn't view last season as a total waste because it gave a lot of young players some playing time. Combined with more experience in the off season and the fact that it's a strong junior class at Mountain View, things should only improve.

"They're good kids, they're working hard and they're committed," Gardner said. "They're just another year along, and the juniors we played last year are just going to be better as seniors this year."

Seniors Greg May, Tanner Young, Cameron Schmidt and Christian Bateman will be the Bruins' key players. But junior front-court players Scott Moake, Mark Wolfert and Adam Lewis give Mountain View much better balance this season and a lot more size inside.

"We've got five or six guys who can consistently score for us, and we have more big guys which gives us better balance in the paint," Gardner said.

Even with the improvements, it's still a long shot to think the Bruins can go from last to first in one season. However, if Gardner can get each player to do his role and fundamentally do all of the small things that help win games, Mountain View can realistically make a good run at the playoffs.

"Defensively, we've got work to do. We've just got to get really good at stopping teams. We feel that if we can defend and rebound that we have enough guys who can score that we should be a pretty good team," he said.

Mountain View Bruins: girls basketball

Class: 4A

League: Region 7

Last season: 3-17, fifth in Region 4

Predicted 2007-08 region finish: Fourth

Head coach: Laura Romo, Second year

Assistant coaches: Mike Hunter, Holli Hansen, Heather Stroshine, Chelsea Jolley

Key returning players: Alyssa Olsen, 5-foot-6 guard, Sr.

Newcomers: Caitlin Boswell, 5-foot-6 guard, Sr.; Christina Augustin, 5-foot-10 post, Jr.; Angie Lines, 5-foot-7 guard, Jr.; Megan Goodman, 5-foot-6 guard, Jr.; Ashley Williams, 5-foot-6 guard, Jr.; Berniece Halalilo, 5-foot-10 post, Sr.; Patricia Madsen, 6-foot-1 post, Sr.

Schedule (home games in bold)

Nov. 27 - Mountain View 50, Spanish Fork 40

Nov. 29 - Mountain View 49, Brighton 46 (OT)

Dec. 5 - Taylorsville

Dec. 11 - American Fork

Dec. 13 - Murray

Dec. 19 - TBA @Phoenix

Dec. 20 - TBA @ Phoenix

Dec. 21 - TBA @ Phoenix

Dec. 22 - TBA @ Phoenix

Jan. 2 - Tooele

Jan. 4 - Timpview

Jan. 8 - Provo

Jan. 10 - Springville

Jan. 15 - Payson

Jan. 22 - Orem

Jan. 24 - Rich

Jan. 25 - Tooele

Jan. 29 - Timpview

Jan. 31 - Provo

Feb. 5 - Springville

Feb. 7 - Payson

Feb. 14 - Orem

Mountain View Bruins: boys basketball

Class: 4A

League: Region 7

Last season: 1-20, sixth in Region 4

Predicted 2007-08 region finish: Sixth

Head coach: Jeff Gardner, second year

Assistant coaches: Nate Carling, Terry Shellenberger, Peter Glahn, Taylor Williams

Key returning players: Greg May, 5-foot-11 guard, Sr.; Christian Bateman, 5-foot-11 guard, Sr.; Tanner Young, 6-foot-3 forward, Sr.; Cameron Schmidt, 6-foot-3 forward, Sr.

Newcomers: Alex Allred, 5-foot-10 guard, Jr.; Jordan Cottrell, 6-foot-1 guard, Jr.; Adam Lewis, 6-foot-4 forward, Jr.; Mark Wolfert, 6-foot-4 center, Jr.; Scott Moake, 6-foot-6 center, Jr.

Schedule (home games in bold)

Nov. 20 - Mountain View 60, Morgan 53

Nov. 30 - Mountain View 56, Cyprus 37

Dec. 4 - Murray

Dec. 7 - Starmount

Dec. 8 - North Forsyth

Dec. 11 - Timpanogos

Dec. 14 - Lehi

Dec. 18 - Wasatch

Dec. 20 - Alta

Jan. 4 - Timpview

Jan. 8 - Provo

Jan. 11 - Springville

Jan. 16 - Payson

Jan. 22 - Orem

Jan. 25 - Tooele

Jan. 30 - Timpview

Feb. 1 - Provo

Feb. 5 - Springville

Feb. 7 - Payson

Feb. 15 - Orem

Feb. 20 - Tooele

E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]