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Braves have ‘different team’
by Shain Gillet
Nov 17, 2011 | 3482 views | 0 0 comments | 163 163 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOUNTIFUL BATTLED all the way to the state 4A finals last season, where they lost a close game to Highland.
BOUNTIFUL BATTLED all the way to the state 4A finals last season, where they lost a close game to Highland.
BOUNTIFUL — More than half of the Bountiful Braves basketball team from last year is gone.

But that doesn’t mean the team will be out of sorts when the 2011 season starts Tuesday, as many familiar names will still be part of a Braves team that was one game away from claiming the 4A state boys basketball title.

As fans will recall, Bountiful was given the opportunity to play cross-town rival Woods Cross a third time in 2010.

The third game, as it turned out, was for the right to face Highland in the state 4A finals.

Bountiful won the game over the Wildcats, but fell short to the Rams to finish second in the 4A tournament.

Part of the team’s 10-departing seniors from last year include McKay LaSalle and Nick Williams, the team’s top two scorers.

Dan Prawitt and Dillon Salazar, also center pieces in the team’s near state title run, are also gone.

“That was an unusual thing for us,” said Braves coach Mike Maxwell. “We usually only have five or six players gone at a time.

“But they deserved to be together and this year will be a whole different thing.”

But that still won’t deter the Braves from putting a strong team on the floor.

Of the Braves remaining roster players from last year include Brandon and Brock Yates, Nate Pollard, Tommy Lalli and Britt Harding.

Brandon (a guard) and Brock (a center) both stand at least six-feet tall and saw some significant action during the 2010 campaign.

Brock, listed at 6-5 as of last year, was third on the team in rebounds and was a big presence for the Braves in the middle when he was spelling for Prawitt.

Harding averaged better than four points and two rebounds a game for the Braves last year.

Tommy Lalli could also see some more playing time, as his 6-7 frame will do well in the middle of the floor.

Dain Murdock also returns for his senior season, playing in all 26 games for the Braves last year.

“The biggest thing we have to see as coaches is whether they can step up and play on the varsity level,” said Maxwell. “Will they be able to play as a team, will they be hungry to play.

“The talent is there, and they have confidence, but we have to see if they can do it as a team.”

Two players from last year, Pere LeSueur and Nate Pollard, will not be on the team for different reasons.

LeSueur is currently in Australia for personal reasons, but will return as a senior for the Braves next year according to Maxwell.

Pollard moved from Bountiful to the Davis area and is hoping to be on the Darts squad in 2011.

Bountiful will have a few more opponents that they can schedule this year thanks to the loss of Highland, Stansbury and Tooele in the realignment.

With this year’s region including only Cyprus (3-18 overall in 5A) and Clearfield (2-19 overall in 5A) along with the rest of the familiars (East, Highland and Woods Cross), the Braves can have as many as 11 preseason games before facing off against the Falcons to open region play.

“The players want to win region and state and everything else, that’s how they are,” said Maxwell. “And they’ve done the hard work before.

“They’ve been doing the work for years. Now let’s see if they can take that last step and be a solid team together.”

Bountiful kicks off its season with three straight home games, starting with Northridge Tuesday night.

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