Cottonwood boys and girls basketball teams are both headed in the same direction — up. Blair Martineau is a veteran coach who will have a veteran team that looks to better last year's 12-9 record for the boy's team. The girls are happy just to have a familiar face back in their coach. Matt Baumann will begin his second year and after starting the season with two straight wins, the Colts will surely improve on last year's 5-15 mark.

BOYS: The Colts could change their mascot name this year for the boys team to the old gray mares. The byword for the team this year is experience. Five seniors will start followed by three seniors first off the bench for the Colts. Under the tutelage of Martineau — who packs 25 years of experience himself — greenies will be scarce in this program. And to top it all off, Martineau has brought in as an assistant, Dave McConnell, a former head coach at Jordan.

Traditionally, Martineau fields a structured, well oiled offense that relies on execution to obtain maximum results. This year Martineau says the strength of his team, besides experience, will be execution. He figures lack of experience cost him a couple of close games last year that he aims to make up for.

"We'll play smart basketball," he said. "We lost a few close games last year that experience will help with this year."

McConnell hopes to incorporate a little more running into the offense, but he cautions, "We will only run when it's there. It will be a combination of both."

Anthony Skalbrin heads up the experience list claiming two years as a starter for his resume. Ben Canevari is a 6-foot-5 center and Marcus Dahle plays on the wing. Those three are expected to carry the scoring load for the Colts. Taylor Allen is an unselfish point guard who excels at getting them the ball. The four together will captain the team.

Lest anyone think the old gray mares won't be feisty, the first two games of the season went to overtime — with 5A teams. The Colts prevailed against Taylorsville and lost against Spanish Fork. And the game with the Dons only went to OT because Cottonwood missed a free throw at the end of regulation.

GIRLS: The Cottonwood girls team has suffered from instability the past few years and is excited that this year its coach, Matt Baumann, is staying on to coach his second year, thus bringing a measure of stability to the program that has seen a revolving door for coaches the past few years.

Baumann claims to have the best assistant coaches around. Judy Lee and Kay Lisa Hansen help out and former NBA player, Jim Eakins, moved to Cottonwood when Granite shut down. Lee and Hansen worked with the girls during the summer.

Only losing one player to graduation, the girls are excited about the upcoming season. "But she will be missed," said Baumann about Stephanie Shiozaki who started at point guard last season and led the team in steals with five per game.

Taking her place will be junior Erika Nash who started last season at shooting guard and will now take over the leadership role of running the team. However, she shies away from being called the team leader as she said, "We are all captains."

Maybe it is too early to have named team captains. Maybe some discord still exists from last year where Baumann points to a lack of chemistry contributing to poor play.

And then there is Karalee Paloukos. Only a sophomore, on Thanksgiving Eve, she sat out the first half of a game against Park City for undisclosed reasons then came in and scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Colts to victory.

"It was one of those special moments in sports," said Baumann. He added, "She is a great kid. She also carries a 4.0 GPA in the classroom."

Rounding out the Colts team are two seniors, Ama Flattes-Ferrer and Brinka Brumfield. Two juniors, Angie Schwartz and Alysa Moreno, will contribute. Nash thinks the Colts may sneak up on a few teams this year.

"We are underdogs," she said. "We are going to surprise some people."

Baumann believes the experience of the team is its strength, but he is cautious as he assesses the team's outlook.

"It will be interesting," he said. "It depends on if we come together as a team."

Cottonwood Colts boys basketball

Class: 4A

League: Region 6

Last season: 12-9

Predicted 2007-08 region finish: Second

Coach: Blair Martineau

Key returning players: Anthony Skalbrin, F; Ben Canevari, C; Marcus Dahle, G/F; Taylor Allen, PG.

Boys schedule

Nov. 20 — Cottonwood 55, Taylorsville 52 (OT)

Nov. 27 — Spanish Fork 71, Cottonwood 65 (OT)

Nov. 30 — Cottonwood 43, Hillcrest 37

Dec. 7 — Clearfield at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Dec. 12 — Jordan at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Dec. 28 — Bountiful at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Dec. 29 — Cottonwood vs. Timpanogos (at EnergySolutions), 3 p.m.

Jan. 2 — West at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 4 — Cottonwood at East, 7 p.m.

Jan. 8 — Cyprus at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 11 — Cottonwood at Olympus, 7 p.m.

Jan. 15 — Highland at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 18 — Cottonwood at Granger, 7 p.m.

Jan. 22 — Murray at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 25 — Cottonwood at West, 7 p.m.

Feb. 1 — East at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Feb. 5 — Cottonwood at Cyprus, 7 p.m.

Feb. 8 — Olympus at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Feb. 12 — Cottonwood at Highland, 7 p.m.

Feb. 15 — Granger at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Feb. 19 — Cottonwood at Murray, 7 p.m.

Cottonwood Colts girls basketball

Class 4A

League: Region 6

Last Season: 5-15

Predicted 2007-08 region finish: Fourth

Coach: Matt Baumann

Key returning players: Erika Nash, PG; Anna Flattes-Ferrer, C; Brinka Brumfield, F; Angie Schwartz, G; Alysa Moreno, G; Karalee Paloukos, G/F.

Girls schedule

Nov. 20 — Cottonwood 52, Park City 49

Nov. 28 — Cottonwood 58, Roy 52

Nov. 30 — Grantsville 56, Cottonwood 48

Dec. 12 — Cottonwood at Alta, 7 p.m.

Dec. 14 — Juan Diego at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Dec. 18 — Copper Hills at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Dec. 19 — Cottonwood at Hillcrest, 7 p.m.

Jan. 2 — West at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 4 — Cottonwood at East, 7 p.m.

Jan. 8 — Cyprus at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 11 — Cottonwood at Olympus, 7 p.m.

Jan. 15 — Highland at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 18 — Granger at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 22 — Murray at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Jan. 25 — Cottonwood at West, 7 p.m.

Jan. 29 — Cottonwood at Murray, 7 p.m.

Feb. 1 — East at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Feb. 5 — Cottonwood at Cyprus, 7 p.m.

Feb. 8 — Olympus at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.

Feb. 12 — Cottonwood at Highland, 7 p.m.

Feb. 14 — Cottonwood at Granger, 7 p.m.


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