Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Clockwise from lower left, Marci Gray, Aishia Stucki, Stephanie Rogers and Kammi Hunt lead a young Lehi basketball team.

LEHI — With so much change the past few years in Lehi High's basketball situation, and with so many fresh faces on the court, the Pioneers are really a mystery to the rest of Region 4.

Coaches will say that they don't know whether either of Lehi's basketball teams will be good or bad. Even the Pioneers, with the jump to 5A and not much experience on either team, don't know what to expect of themselves.

However, both teams know exactly what they would consider a successful season — turning all of the mystery into a couple of postseason berths.

GIRLS: The Pioneers weren't at the top of their game last season, and this year they had even fewer returning starters and some real question marks coming into the season.

So far, they've seen a mixed bag of results, but the team is definitely hoping its game will improve as the season rolls along and it gains the experience it's lacking.

The biggest problem for the Pioneers is the fact that they have now hopped into 5A action and left 4A behind.

Now, instead of playing in a tough but fairly equal group in Region 7, they find themselves going against some really big guns day in and day out. With most of the region conceding that the top two spots most likely belong to Lone Peak and American Fork and a couple of other teams laying claim to other playoff positions, it'll be tough for the Pioneers to propel themselves into the postseason yet again.

"We will count on our defense as usual," said Lehi coach Khalil Sikander. "We're going to play a lot of zone. We're not as fast as we used to be in the past, so we're going to slow down a little and not run quite as much."

A couple of seniors will provide some leadership and skills. Marci Gray comes back from a year off because of a concussion to finish off her high school career.

"She's the perfect girl to coach and does a great job on both ends of the floor," said Sikander, who will also be counting on senior Stephanie Rogers, who is a great shooter and a silent leader.

In addition to the seniors, he'll be looking to a pair of sophomores to lead the team into the fray.

"Jackie Cattani has some great potential," said Sikander. "She's stepped up as a real leader for being so young. That's a quality you can't teach."

Cattani also played as a freshman last season and brings in a year of experience.

Sophomore Briar Sands will also be counted on heavily for the team this season. She has some good low-post moves. KJ Secreten provides a spark for the Pioneers when she comes off the bench.

BOYS: It seems like the Pioneers just can't get rid of that "inexperienced" label. At least it seems like the past few years have all fallen into that "rebuilding" category.

For sure, this season does. With no returning starters on the team and a jump up into probably the toughest league in the state, few are expecting the Pioneers to really make much noise.

"We basically have last year's JV team playing for us, and that's it," coach Craig Gladwell said.

Of the 10 players who will see the most time for the Pioneers, only four are seniors.

"Those seniors have got to step up and provide us some leadership," Gladwell said.

About half of the rest are sophomores, and a freshman might even see some time.

"Our young kids at times play well and other times they play like young kids," Gladwell said. "So we just have to toughen up, and I think we're going to have to do it through game situations. But the thing that really hurts us is that when we do have to go to the bench, we have to go even younger and more inexperienced."

Because of the lack of depth, a critical issue for the Pioneers this season will be playing smart basketball. Mainly, they have to avoid committing senseless fouls.

"We have to learn to play without fouling so much," Gladwell said. "It seems like when we get playing well we have to sit kids down for a long time because of foul trouble."

Still, Gladwell's squad has several pluses. Though inexperienced, the Pioneers have better-than-average height — with three players at least 6-foot-6. The Pioneers also have some good athletes and a very solid guard line.

"The thing that is good about these kids is that they are young, they are going to learn and they are only going to get better," Gladwell said.

Lehi Pioneers: boys basketball

Class: 5A

League: Region 4

Last season: 10-12, fifth in Region 7

Predicted 2007-08 region finish: Sixth

Head coach: Craig Gladwell, seventh year

Assistant coaches: Bob Barnes, Otto Carter, Christian Smith

Key returning players: Josh Swenson, 6-1, G, Sr.; Egan Asay, 6-1, G, Sr.; Tyson Henderson, 6-3, F, Sr.; Corey Smith, 6-0, G, Jr.

Newcomers: Kyle Hinton, 6-6, C, Jr.; Jacob Obioma, 6-3, F, Jr.; Josh Scott, 6-7, C, So.; Josh Strubell, 6-1, G, Sr.; Will Walker, 6-6, C, So.; Mua Faleao, 6-1, F, Jr.

Schedule (home games in bold)

Nov. 30 — Davis 74, Lehi 49

Dec. 1 — Snow Canyon 59, Lehi 46

Dec. 5 — Timpview 71, Lehi 63

Dec. 7 — Provo

Dec. 11 — West

Dec. 14 — Mountain View

Dec. 19 — Springville

Dec. 21 — Wasatch

Dec. 28 — Copper Hills

Jan. 3 — Juan Diego

Jan. 8 — Kearns

Jan. 11 — Timpanogos

Jan. 16 — American Fork

Jan. 18 — Spanish Fork

Jan. 25 — Lone Peak

Jan. 30 — Pleasant Grove

Feb. 1 — Timpanogos

Feb. 6 — American Fork

Feb. 8 — Spanish Fork

Feb. 13 — Lone Peak

Feb. 19 — Pleasant Grove

Lehi Pioneers: girls basketball

Class: 5A

League: Region 4

Last season: 8-14, tied for fourth in Region 7

Predicted 2007-08 region finish: Sixth

Head coach: Khalil Sikander, third year

Assistant coaches: Jevonne McDonald, Heather McDonald, Brett Hays

Key returning players: Stephanie Rogers, 6-0, F/C, Sr.; Marci Gray, 5-9, G/F, Sr.; K J Secreten, 5-11, F, Jr.; Jackie Cattani, 5-4, G, So.

Newcomers: Aishia Stucki, 5-9, G, Sr.; Kammi Hunt, 5-5, G, Sr., Haylee Hunter, 6-2, F/C, Jr.; Whitnee Hunter, 6-2, F/C, Jr.; Briar Sands, 5-9, F/C, So.; Katy Rogers, 5-9, F, So.; Gabby Grathem, 5-5, G, So.

Schedule (home games in bold)

Nov. 27 — Orem 44 Lehi 32

Nov. 30 — Provo 41 Lehi 20

Dec. 4 — Lehi 58 Hillcrest 30

Dec. 7 — Lehi 47 Mountain Crest 45

Dec. 12 — Highland

Dec. 13 — East

Dec. 14 — Timpview

Dec. 19 — Springville

Dec. 21 — Judge Memorial

Jan. 8 — Pleasant Grove

Jan. 10 — Timpanogos

Jan. 15 — American Fork

Jan. 18 — Spanish Fork

Jan. 25 — Lone Peak

Jan. 29 — Pleasant Grove

Feb. 1 — Timpanogos

Feb. 6 — American Fork

Feb. 8 — Spanish Fork

Feb. 13 — Lone Peak