For the first time, someone else will be coaching the Stansbury girls basketball team this season.
However, the Stallions’ new coach is a familiar face. Brittany Davies is set to make her debut as Stansbury’s varsity head coach Tuesday night against Bear River, having accepted the job this past spring after Kenzie Newton stepped down to take over the girls basketball program at Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman.
It’s a challenge that Davies is looking forward to, though she is also thankful for her familiarity with the Stallions’ program.
“I am so excited,” Davies said, noting that the Stallions’ game will be a little more free-flowing this year than it has been in the past. “Just being able to take this team and see where we can go with it is so exciting. This is a talented group of girls with so much talent and so much experience.
“We already have relationships. I know what they like and I know what they don’t like. They know how competitive I am and they also know how easygoing I can be. We already know each other. So far, they’ve been super respectful and working so hard for me, and I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Davies takes over a group led by seniors Kayla Alvey, Hannah Anderson, Madison Welch and Gracey Hinton. All four are standout, multi-sport athletes, and bring plenty of big-game experience to the table.
“Seeing the way way we’ve played the first two weeks of practice, I think we’re going to do really well this season,” Anderson said. “We’re going to have a lot of tough competition in the preseason, but I think we’re going to do really well against them.”
That experience will be crucial to a team that is still young. Sophomores Ainsley Thurber and Epa Tia got significant varsity playing time last season, as did juniors Malia Tia and Payten Staley.
“Just that experience and having that under their belt will help them be more comfortable on the court, not be so scared and help them to hopefully play a little more loose and relaxed,” Davies said. “I see these guys practice and play relaxed and confident and I just can’t wait to see that on the floor. I’m excited for that.”
However, the rest of the roster saw little — if any — game time last year, and it will be important for the seniors to help bring those girls along.
“As a senior, there’s a lot of younger girls who are looking up to us and wanting to see how we act, on and off the court,” Hinton said. “Having them coming up is making us want to be better players and better people. (Davies) is putting a lot of trust in us, so I’m ready to take that and roll with it.”
Davies’ willingness to trust her seniors and listen to their perspective on things has given them a lot of confidence, as well as a feeling of ownership, as the season gets under way.
“She’s very open to what we have to say and what we think about things,” Welch said. “She’s kind of putting the whole ‘keep the family together’ role on us.”
Alvey is the Stallions’ leading returning scorer, averaging 6.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game last season as a guard. Welch averaged 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds as a junior in the post, while Anderson shot 38% from 3-point range and Hinton made the most of limited playing time as a rebounder and distributor. With a good balance of talented guards and size up front, the Stallions hope to present opponents with a multi-pronged offensive attack.
“We have a lot of posts and we’ve got good size on our team,” Alvey said. “We’re looking to really use our size to our advantage.”
Hinton said the thing that has stood out most so far in the first couple weeks of practice is how quickly the team has come together.
“We just started off the season and we’re already playing more like a team,” she said. “We’re starting to play together and we do combination plays, and we’re just having a lot of fun. I’m excited to see how that carries through the rest of the season — the teamwork and the camaraderie we’re going to have as teammates.”
Alvey is excited to see what this season brings under Davies’ leadership.
“I’m just looking forward to it because it’s a new program and it’s a whole new thing,” she said. “I think we’re all super excited about it. Change is good, and it will be interesting to see how we do this year.
“Come out and support us because we’ll be putting on a show,” Alvey added, as she and her fellow seniors grinned and gave the thumbs-up in agreement.