“We’re coming along. We feel like we’ve got some things to improve on obviously,” said Duchesne coach Stan Young, who isn’t concerned by the lack of returning starters. “We were so deep last year, so a lot of these kids played last year.”
Young actually believes Rich and its two returning starters, Austin Groll and McKay Jarman, are the slight favorites in Region 21.
Even though Layton Christian along with the front-runners in Region 20 and 21 will dominate the conversation in 1A, Monticello could be a sleeper team. The Buckaroos are 6-1 this preseason and already beat Rich back on Dec. 7. Their three returning starters of Jake Duncan, Gunnar Hollingsworth and Austin Maloy are all averaging around 13.0 ppg.
Duncan is one of the better bigs in 1A, and coach Tony Esplin said he’s done a great job dealing with the extra attention.
“He’s kind of taking over a passing role, more of a floor general. Teams have keyed on him, and our guards have had success when he’s been able to draw doubles and kick it out to them,” said Esplin.
Region 18 favorite Tintic is 8-1 this preseason, and unlike past years it can’t be cast aside as a one-and-done playoff team. The Miners haven’t won a state tournament game in more than a decade, but they played Tabiona very tough two weeks ago and they’re also a balanced team with McKade Holman, Travis Green and Taylor Hurst all averaging in double figures.
Deseret News 1A region projections
Note: Projections were picked by the Deseret News staff based on observations from the first month of the season.
1. Layton Christian
2. St. Joseph
3. West Ridge
4. Legacy Prep
8. Mt. Vernon
2. Green River
5. Monument Valley
6. Navajo Mountain
1. Bryce Valley
6. Diamond Ranch
6. Uintah River
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