High school basketball: Lone Peak among the favorites as new season tips off
Like Lone Peak last year, Wasatch Academy is hitting the road several times this season to test itself against national competition. It will participate in the Legacy Tip Off Classic in Las Vegas starting Dec. 7, the Tarkanian Classic also in Las Vegas starting Dec. 19 and then the West Anchorage Tournament from Jan. 16-18.
Even though Wasatch Academy is clearly the favorite, Emery should be a strong team this season, as should South Summit once it knocks off the football rust.
“We have a strong team coming back. We return our two leading scorers, Bailey Faimalo and Dillon Wilstead,” said Emery coach Todd Jeffs. “Bailey is a great playmaker and scorer and our team leader.”
Manti and Gunnison are two other 2A programs hoping to compete, even though there will be a learning curve for both programs with one returning starter.
Year in and year out, the same 1A programs seem to battle it out for the state championship. That figures to be the case again this season.
Rich, Panguitch, defending champion Bryce Valley and Duchesne led the way in the preseason voting once again this season, and all are capable of making a deep run in the tournament.
Bryce Valley only returns two starters from a year ago, but first-year head coach Gary Syrett likes the mix of youth and experience on his team. Kix Roundy is the top returning scorer for Bryce Valley after he averaged 6.8 ppg last season.
Panguitch will be in the hunt once again this year, with senior Tyce Barney leading the way after finishing third in 1A in scoring last year at 21.8 ppg.
“We will depend heavily on our three seniors; Tyce Barney, Keldon Norris and Chance Campbell,” said Panguitch coach Clint Barney. “Tyce will be a four-year starter, and should provide strong leadership. As the season progresses, we hope that our younger players will develop into contributing players on the team.”
Coming off strong seasons in football yet again, Duchesne and Rich might take awhile to hit their stride, but once they do you can bet they’ll play a role in the 1A race this season.