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2A boys state preview: South Sevier is team to beat

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 22 2012 3:07 p.m. MST

Check out the Deseret News' team-by-team 2A boys state tournament capsules.

With two 20-win teams on opposite sides of the 2A boys basketball state tournament bracket this week, it's reasonable to believe that the playoffs are a two-team race.

South Sevier coach Scott Hunt says not so fast.

"There's some very good teams in the tournament. I think five or six really have a legitimate shot at winning it," said Hunt.

The team to beat though is definitely No. 1 South Sevier. The defending 2A state champions have won 21 straight games since a season-opening loss to Wasatch Academy. That setback was three months ago, and South Sevier is playing at a higher level than anyone else in 2A.

If Wasatch Academy and South Sevier meet in the 2A championship game Saturday, as many expect, the Rams would no doubt be favored.

A lot must unfold before a potential championship game between 21-win South Sevier and 20-win Wasatch Academy, and the action gets under way with the quarterfinals Thursday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.

Manti and Beaver tip off the busy day at 9:30 a.m., followed by South Sevier and Waterford at 11:10 a.m. Richfield-Wasatch Academy follow at 12:50 p.m. and then South Summit-Emery wrap up the boys quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m.

South Sevier's repeat bid begins against a Waterford team it beat 61-46 back on Jan. 7. Hunt's doing his best to make sure his players don't get caught looking ahead.

"We're not looking past anyone," said Hunt. "I think there are so many examples of a team that has beat a team in the regular season and then turns around and gets beat in the tournament."

South Sevier is led by reigning 2A MVP Race Parsons, who's averaging 23.8 points and 8.3 rebounds this year. Waterford counters with its own star, Seth Monson, who is averaging 18.2 points and 11.2 rebounds.

Waterford coach Reid Monson believes his team has the pieces to keep the rematch much closer.

"I like my team, and I like the fact that we have presence inside and shooters outside and experience at positions that matter in a game like that," he said.

The other three quarterfinals are all first-time meetings this year.

Manti is a slight favorite against Beaver after narrowly escaping North Summit in the first round. If anyone is going to spoil the projected title game between South Sevier and Wasatch, the Templars are the best bet. They recently beat Wasatch Academy in a region game, and are riding a wave of momentum with an eight-game winning streak.

Defending 1A champion Wasatch Academy has only lost two games all year — Weber and Manti — and are led by Cody John and Fred Drajacic, who each average 14 points.

South Summit, which lost in last year's championship game, has been very up and down this year, but a 53-51 loss to Wasatch Academy on Feb. 14 gives the Wildcats confidence they can play with anybody.

Hunt says this weekend is what 2A fans have been looking forward to all year.

"It's great. This valley in particular is a basketball community and the Sevier Valley Center is centrally located with a lot of the other 2A schools. It's a full day of basketball, and people can just come and sit and watch games all day," said Hunt.

email: jedward@desnews.com

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