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A lot can change in a year and that will be evident in the new Lady Spartans on the floor. Emery graduated a huge senior class that played for years together, leaving many shoes to fill.
“We’re going to start from scratch, it’s a good group,” began head coach Jon Faimalo. “They just don’t have a whole lot of varsity experience. They’ve played together for a long time, so that’s one thing going for them, but it’s a big learning curve for them this year.”
Faimalo dug deeper on what the girls will need to overcome. “To begin with, just the different level of competition at varsity versus JV, which they’ve been playing the last couple years. They’ll certainly have to step up their game that way. Then, the speed of it, the intensity of it. It’s a little bit different atmosphere for them. But once they figure that out, they are good ball players, they will be just fine.”
While it is Faimalo’s first year as a head coach, he has been an assistant to Steven Gordon and Lynn Tuttle for many years. In other words, the scheme and build of the team should look familiar even with the new faces.
“My philosophy is similar to Lynn’s. Certainly, we want to put our own stamp on the program, but to change just to change doesn’t help.” Faimalo added, “No need to fix what’s not broke.”
As always, the Spartans find themselves in a tough region with high-powered competitors in Richfield, Carbon and Canyon View. The ‘Cats are coming off of a state finals appearance and bring back their big, Nicole Willardson, along with their three-point specialist Hallie Janes. Carbon features a lot of height, including Madi Orth, Haley Garrish and former Spartan Tatum Tanner, to go along with slashing point guard Amiah Timothy, among others. Then, on top of that, the Falcons are expected to be better.
There are sure to be growing pains, but the Lady Spartans are ready to fight. Their four seniors (Makaila Peacock, Brielle Rowley, Alexia Mortensen and Sabrina West) along with many underclassmen are enthusiastic for the opportunities ahead.
“I’m looking forward to it. The girls are excited. We have a good group of girls. We’re going to be young, but at the same time, they’re competitors,” Faimalo concluded. “We’re always going to be in the game [due to] the fact that they’re going to compete. Defensively, we’re going to be pretty sound.”