Prep basketball: Caitlyn Larsen leads Viewmont's resurgence
Bountiful • Every now and then, Viewmont girls basketball star Caitlyn Larsen will run into a former Viking player or student. The topic is always inevitably raised: How's the team doing?
After a stretch of losing years, including a pair of winless seasons, Larsen is pleased to deliver the news of the Vikings' revival. Coming into the week, they sat at 18-2, with an unblemished Region 2 record and a region crown in tow.
"It's been fun helping bring Viewmont back," Larsen said. "Hearing all the people from the past be like, 'Wait, Viewmont's winning?' has been really cool."
Viewmont's resurgence began in earnest three years ago, in coach Clint Straatman's first season. Current BYU guard Xojian Henry was the team's leader then and took the Vikings to the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-2005 season.
Larsen was just a freshman, but she earned minutes and averaged over six points per game.
"I didn't feel like a freshman for very long," Larsen said. "They definitely treated me like I was any other junior or senior on the team."
On and off the court, she learned from the example Henry set. She wanted to understand just what it was about Henry that made her such an effective leader.
Now a junior, she is the one the team looks to for leadership. She understands when to be aggressive and push her teammates. At the same time, she's always searching to strengthen the relationships she shares with her teammates. Strong bonds, she understands, will help the Vikings when times get tough late in a close game.
Larsen also looks out for the younger players. Because Henry and the rest of the team treated her so well during her freshman season, she wants to make sure every other player gets the same experience.
"I know what it's like," Larsen said. "Having that opportunity to be taken under someone's wing is nice, and I don't want any girls to feel not taken in."
As much as leadership plays a role in Larsen's success, you haven't truly seen her impact on the Vikings until you've seen her with a ball in her hands. She leads the team in scoring at 18 points a game, and she fills the stat sheet like few high school players can. On any night, she's a threat to notch a double-double, or even a triple-double.
"She is either one or two steals, assists or rebounds away from getting a double-double every game," Straatman said. "You don't see to many high school kids who do that, especially at the girls' level."
Larsen's ability to dissect a game and assess exactly what the Vikings need at any given moment is what stands out to Straatman. When Larsen needs to score, she'll score. When she needs to dish to her teammates, she's willing.
The key, Straatman says, is Larsen's trust in her teammates, something that doesn't always develop in players as good as Larsen.
"Without [her teammates], she doesn't get anything," Straatman said. "I think it's a total team effort, and we do a really good job of working together as a unit."
Caitlyn Larsen file
Larsen fills the stat sheet for Viewmont, which is unbeaten in Region 2
She is averaging more than 18 points for the Vikings
Larsen tallies a near double-double every game.