High school basketball: Lone Peak among the favorites as new season tips off
“I expect this to be a very competitive, tough-minded team,” said Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell. “With numerous players returning with varsity experience, this team should be able to hit a good rhythm early.”
Orem checks in at No. 2 in the preseason rankings after a surprising first-round ouster to Logan last season, while Olympus figures to be in the hunt again with the return of three starters, led by junior Jake Lindsey.
A year ago Cache County took the 4A state tournament by storm, placing three of four teams in the semifinals, with eventual champ Sky View and Mountain Crest meeting in the championship game. Sky View and Mountain Crest graduated the bulk of their starters and could tail off a bit this season, but the coaches believe Logan is poised to build on last year's unlikely semifinal run.
“Taylor Compton at the point and Tyler Brimhall on the perimeter will be our best threats offensively,” said Logan coach Logan Brown. “Our region proved to be very competitive in the state tournament last year, and it looks to be very similar this year. Every night we will have to play well in order to succeed.”
Roy, meanwhile, is hoping to ride the coattails of Ute commit Chapman to another fine season. He averaged 19 points last season, but Roy coach Dan McClure is hopeful the four new starters surrounding him can rise to the challenge.
“We will be able to surround Chapman with some very talented athletes who can shoot it well,” said McClure. “We were able to get a lot of our juniors some experience in the playoffs last year and are hoping that experience will help us this year.”
Morgan’s boys basketball team ended a 39-year state title drought last season, but the wait for another title might not be nearly as long.
The Trojans are the clear-cut favorite according to the coaches in the Deseret News 3A preseason poll this season despite the graduation of 3A MVP Jake Miles, who averaged 24.7 ppg.
Returning starters Matt Murdock and Bridger Streadbeck will be counted on to pick up the scoring slack after each averaged 5.9 ppg a year ago.
“We are excited to start a new year. After last year’s great ending we know we have a target on our backs and need to be ready to compete every night. Hopefully we will be able to score the ball without Jake Miles, and defend as well as last year,” said coach Jim Wiscombe.
The 3A landscape is a bit diluted this season with the departure Judge Memorial and Wasatch to 4A, but there’s still several quality teams that hope to be in the hunt for the state title.
Many of those contenders hail from Southern Utah. Fresh off of winning the football state title, Desert Hills hopes to secure the prestigious double and it’s certainly possible with three returning starters.
“Our team is optimistic about the upcoming season. The boys are hungry to get back to the state tourney,” said coach Wade Turley. “If things bounce right and we work together as a team, we have the potential to be a very solid team.”
The Thunder should get tremendous competition in their own region from Snow Canyon, which returns three starters from last year’s semifinal team.
Payson is another squad that should be in the mix with three returning starters, led by Daniel Reno, who averaged 15 points a year ago.
The conversation in 2A likely begins and ends with Wasatch Academy.
After a phenomenal 25-1 campaign in which the Tigers claimed the 2A state championship, coach Geno Morgan’s team returns three starters, led by leading scorer Cody John.
Koby McEwen and Geno Luzcano also averaged double figures last season. The trio of John, McEwen and Luzcano will make Wasatch Academy tough to beat.