High school basketball: Quality players, teams in 5A tourney
"I've had more than one coach from (Region 1) tell me that (Smith) is the best player in their league and it'd be hard to argue with that," Briggs said. "I'm excited to be a part of it actually and just watch those two go at it. We know we have our hands full trying to slow him down."Loveridge and teammate Jordan Pryor were both freshman when the Jaguars upset Lone Peak in 2009 for the state championship. The two still vividly remember the process of the title run and ex-players from that 21-4 team have continued to be involved with the program this season.
"One thing that we definitely will take advantage of is that, I don't know if you'd say expectations, but really just winning mentality that we have adopted from other West Jordan players through the years," Briggs said. "I think our players are still feeding off what those guys brought a couple years ago.
"Rayes (Gallegos) is in Nebraska right now, but we got an email that he wrote to me that had a message for the team," Briggs continued. "To get ready for this week, just telling them to take advantage of it and what a great experiences and memories they're gonna have. Then, Jordan Weirick even came by practice this week and spent the day with the players. I just think their influence does have a big impact on what we're trying to do."
Emery, an early commit to BYU as a junior, leads the defending champs with 22.3 points per game and is the statewide leader at 3-pointers per contest (3.5). He's surpassed 30 points in five games, including 39 against Cottonwood, and connected on five or more treys eight times.
"I think the first thing he brings is somebody whose been there and been able to win a championship," said Lewis." He's a winner."
The Knights will also rely on sophomore, T.J. Haws significantly on the offensive end of the floor while in search of their fifth title since 2005.
American Fork returns after a second-place finish last season as the No. 1 seed from Region 4 behind its four-headed monster. Austin Waddoups (13.2), Quincy Bair (12.8), Zac Hunter (11.25) and Marcel Davis (10.3 ppg) spotlight perhaps the most balanced scoring attack in the state.
"Whichever team wins it they will have got through one pretty close call," stated Lewis. "That's what we've always found in some of the runs that we've had. There always seems to be one game that you have to try and figure out a little bit. I don't think there's any doubt whoever wins it this year will have really earned it."
Class 5A Boys
Tuesday's first round, at Maverick Center
Kearns (9-12) vs. Lone Peak (18-3), 9:30 a.m.
Copper Hills (12-8) vs. Northridge (13-8), 11:10 a.m.
Fremont (12-9) vs. West Jordan (19-2), 12:50 p.m.
Bingham (8-13) vs. Hunter (12-9), 2:30 p.m.
Brighton (14-7) vs. Weber (17-4), 4:10 p.m.
West (5-16) vs. American Fork (18-2), 5:50 p.m.
Riverton (11-10) vs. Viewmont (12-9), 7:30 p.m.
Davis (13-8) vs. Alta (16-5), 9:10 p.m.