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Valley Journals

Lancer Basketball Strives for Success

Jan 28, 2016 09:01AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

West Valley - Look up the word inexperience in the dictionary and there might be a picture of the Granger High School boys basketball team.

“We certainly lack some experience, but that is not an excuse. We have some players that play AAU (Amateur Athletic Union, a non-profit amateur sports organization) and have seen this type (high caliber) of play before. We really need to work harder than other teams to find those extra wins,” head coach Jason Chandler said.

The Lancers lost University of Utah recruit Makol Mawien to graduation last season. Replacing his 18.4 points per game and 9.7 rebounds has been difficult.

“It has been a change this season. Having a D1 (division one) recruit certainly helps. Last season, we got so we could throw the ball in the air and he would go get it. We have had to play a different style and it is taking some time to catch on,” Chandler said.

The Lancers have experienced some opportunities for wins this season. They opened the year with a narrow loss to Cyprus, 60-56. They led by one point to start the fourth quarter, but only scored nine points in the final quarter of the loss. Sophomore Anel Alagic led the team with 20 points.

They rebounded to defeat the Pirates in the Riverton Holiday tournament on Dec. 30, 77-68. Sophomore Jason Murillo scored 21 points and Alagic had 13 in the victory. The Lancers dominated from the beginning, they led by eight after one quarter and 18 at halftime. 

“We have had bits and pieces playing really well. Jason (Murillo) is so aggressive. He leads our team in rebounds and for a six-foot guy that is really good. I just want to get eight guys to play well together,” Chandler said.


Alagic leads the team in scoring averaging 12.7 points per game. He has hit 14 three pointers in the team’s first 12 games. 

“Anel is a three-point guy. He is a little slow to score off the dribble, but he has a good feel for the game. Basketball is a game of feel and skill. We have been working on his skill, because he was born with the feel,” Chandler said.

The Utah High School Activities Association realigned the schools in Region 2 for this season. A repeat of last season’s state tournament appearance will be difficult. Chandler said every team in their region shows promise and it will be tough sledding.

Region 2 consists of Hunter, West, Viewmont, Davis, Layton, Syracuse and Granger.

Chandler is entering his second season as head coach for the Lancers. He had been an assistant coach at the school for the previous three years. 

“These are great kids. I think this
is the first year we have not had students with grade problems. We have some
AP students and they are laying the foundation for our team,” Chandler said.