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3A boys basketball state tournament capsules

Published: Thursday, Feb. 16 2012 10:55 a.m. MST

Park City and Judge Memorial play Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 at Park City. Judge won 57-54. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Park City and Judge Memorial play Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 at Park City. Judge won 57-54. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

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All signs points to a team from Region 9 being crowned state champion with the 3A state tournament being held at the Burns Arena at Dixie State College this year. No. 1 Desert Hills is certainly the favorite in the tough tournament field. Northern teams like Judge, Payson and Morgan are talented enough to spoil what many feel is an inevitable title for a Southern Utah team.

Here’s a team-by-team look at all 16 teams in the state tournament, and what to expect:

Bear River Bears (7-14)

Coach: Kasey Winters

How qualified: Finished tied for third in Region 11 with Ogden at 6-6, but won the coin flip and heads into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed.

Playoff opener: at Delta, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 71-64 win against Hurricane at the Sevier Valley Center on Dec. 3.

Best region victory: A 77-59 win against Ogden on Jan. 27.

Top contributors

Wade Miller, Jr. (17.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.6 spg)

Taylor Ramsdell, Sr. (8.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.0 spg)

Riley Robbins, Sr. (7.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.5 spg)

Kyle Zundel, Jr. (4.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.7 spg)

Tory Brown, Sr. (4.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.5 spg)

Scoring offense: 54.2 ppg (13th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 60.0 ppg (24th in 3A)

Last state championship: 2009

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Judge in quarterfinals.

Edward’s evaluation: At one point this season Bear River owned a 1-10 record before it started to pick up wins in the soft Region 11. That one preseason victory was against Hurricane at the Sevier Valley Center, proof the Bears are capable of competing with top-notch teams on a given night. It can also lay an egg.

Ben Lomond Scots (15-6)

Coach: Ryan Wilcox

How qualified: Finished second in Region 11 with a 10-2 record

Playoff opener: vs. Carbon, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 47-45 win against Roy on Dec. 3.

Best region victory: A 62-50 at Ogden on Feb. 8.

Top contributors

Josh Hardin, Jr., Forward (13.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.5 spg)

Nate Watkins, Sr., Guard (9.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.7 spg)

Sterling Brandley, Jr., Guard (8.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 6.9 apg, 2.5 spg)

Cody Buck, Sr., Forward (5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.1 spg)

Sage Eastburn, Jr., Forward (3.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.1 apg, 0.4 spg)

Scoring offense: 51.4 ppg (17th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 44.7 ppg (1st in 3A)

Last state championship: 1986

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Carbon in first round.

Edward’s evaluation: Ben Lomond has been a pleasant surprise this season, but the record is a bit deceiving. Ten of the wins came against opponents in the below average Region 11, and four of its five preseason wins came against 2A teams. Wins are wins though, and the Scots are confident and poised for their first quarterfinal berth in quite a while.

Carbon Dinos (12-8)

Coach: Jeff Cisneros

How qualified: Finished third in Region 12 with a 5-5 record

Playoff opener: at Ben Lomond, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 46-44 win against Ben Lomond on Dec. 10.

Best region victory: A 64-60 win against Delta on Feb. 10.

Top contributors

Jordan Blanc, Jr., Forward (13.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 spg)

Tanner Gagnon, Sr., Forward (10.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 1.9 spg)

Clay Finkbiner, Sr., Guard (9.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.7 apg, 1.5 spg)

Derek Young, Jr., Forward (8.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.1 spg)

Dakota Cisneros, Jr., Guard (6.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 6.2 apg, 2.5 spg)

Scoring offense: 58.3 ppg (7th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 54.9 ppg (17th in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Desert Hills in quarterfinals.

Edward’s evaluation: Hitting the road in the first round of the playoffs is often intimidating, but the Dinos shouldn’t feel that way at all. They won at Ben Lomond in double overtime earlier this year, and they’re playing well with three victories in their last four games. It could’ve easily been 4 of 5 had it not lost to Payson by one point.

Cedar Redmen (16-5)

Coach: Craig Cardon

How qualified: Finished tied for second in Region 9 with Hurricane at 9-3, but lost the coin flip to fall into the No. 3 seed.

Playoff opener: at Wasatch, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 51-36 win against Morgan at the Sevier Valley Center on Dec. 3.

Best region victory: A 65-57 win against Desert Hills on Jan. 27.

Top contributors

Kyler Nielson, Sr., Forward (18.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.7 spg)

Trent Snow, Sr., Forward (12.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.0 spg)

John Ursua, Sr., Guard (9.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.7 apg, 2.0 spg)

Breylin Blackner, Sr., Center (5.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg)

Kaden Garrett, Sr., Guard (3.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.0 spg)

Scoring offense: 56.3 ppg (9th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 46.1 ppg (2nd in 3A)

Last state championship: 1995

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Hurricane in semifinals.

Edward’s evaluation: Losing the coin flip was no doubt discouraging, but this team should be resilient enough to head north and get a win at Wasatch. Beyond that, Cedar proved throughout the season that can beat anyone as it split the season series with both Desert Hills and Hurricane, along with beating Morgan in the preseason.

Delta Rabbits (9-10)

Coach: Jared Smith

How qualified: Finished second in Region 12 with a 6-4 record

Playoff opener: vs. Bear River, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 63-49 win against Stansbury on Dec. 2.

Best region victory: A 80-71 win against Carbon on Jan. 25.

Top contributors

Colin Christensen, Sr., Guard (14.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.5 spg)

Kyle Church, Sr., Forward (12.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.6 spg)

Austin Albers, Sr., Guard (11.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.3 spg)

Taylor Bahr, Jr., Forward (9.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 1.1 spg)

Jace Johnson, Sr., Forward (5.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.5 spg)

Scoring offense: 59.1 ppg (5th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 59.7 ppg (24th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1972

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Bear River first round.

Edward’s evaluation: Just like this year’s Delta football team, the basketball team is a bunch of competitors who won’t back down from a challenge. The Rabbits have lost two of their last three though, and playing a hungry team in the first round that’s playing well.

Desert Hills Thunder (18-3)

Coach: Steve Melessa

How qualified: Finished first in Region 9 with a 10-2 record

Playoff opener: vs. Juan Diego, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 61-51 win against Viewmont at Dixie State College on Dec. 21.

Best region victory: A 59-39 win against Hurricane on Feb. 8.

Top contributors

Tyler Ott, Sr., Forward (13.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.3 spg)

Brandon Simister, Sr., Guard (12.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.1 spg)

Jaden Beckstrand, Sr., Forward (10.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.9 spg)

Mike Needham, Sr., Forward (7.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.4 apg, 1.2 spg)

Josh Anderson, Jr., Forward (6.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.0 spg)

Scoring offense: 62.0 ppg (1st in 3A)

Scoring defense: 50.2 ppg (6th in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Win over Hurricane in championship game.

Edward’s evaluation: The Thunder have been the top ranked team in 3A all year, and finishing with a 10-2 record in the best region in 3A was no small feat. Desert Hills should have no problem with Juan Diego in the first round, and after that it should enjoy some home cooking at Dixie State College.

Dixie Flyers (11-10)

Coach: Ryan Cuff

How qualified: Finished fourth in Region 9 with a 7-5 record

Playoff opener: at Judge Memorial, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 50-47 win against Springville on Dec. 9.

Best region victory: A 45-42 win at Hurricane on Jan. 4.

Top contributors

Devin Bennett, Sr., Guard (12.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.5 spg)

Deshon Brown, Sr., Guard (9.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.6 spg)

Walker Swenson, Sr., Forward (8.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.7 spg)

Kyler Smith, Jr., Guard (4.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.5 spg)

Brandon Pledger, Sr., Guard (4.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.9 spg)

Scoring offense: 48.5 ppg (24th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 48.6 ppg (4th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1970

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Judge in first round.

Edward’s evaluation: Dixie isn’t your ordinary No. 4 seed. The Flyers have several quality region and nonregion wins under their belts, and on any given night can play with anyone in 3A. With that said, they face arguably the toughest test of the first round in trying to steal a victory at arguably the toughest place to play in 3A.

Hurricane Tigers (15-5)

Coach: Brian Vaifanua

How qualified: Finished tied for second in Region 9 with Cedar at 9-3, but won the coin flip to claim the No. 2 seed.

Playoff opener: vs. Park City, Saturday, 5 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 66-55 win against Lehi at Dixie State College on Dec. 21.

Best region victory: A 54-53 win against Desert Hills on Jan. 13.

Top contributors

Colton Marshall, Sr., Forward (14.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.4 spg)

Boston Gubler, Sr., Center (13.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.5 spg)

Taylor Parker, Sr., Forward (10.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.6 spg)

Weston Yardley, Sr., Guard (8.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.8 spg)

Benson Rich, Sr., Guard (4.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.4 spg)

Scoring offense: 55.6 ppg (11th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 47.6 ppg (3rd in 3A)

Last state championship: 1982 (2A)

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Desert Hills in championship.

Edward’s evaluation: Thanks to a successful coin flip, Hurricane doesn’t have to leave Southern Utah for the playoffs. That’s not to say the wins will come easy, because a 20-point loss to Desert Hills last week and a preseason loss to Bear River are proof that the Tigers are vulnerable. But, things are shaping up nicely for a nice little playoff run.

Juan Diego Soaring Eagle (10-12)

Coach: Brandon Sluga

How qualified: Finished in a fourth-place tie with Uintah in Region 10 at 3-7, but beat Uintah in a tiebreaker to qualify for the state tournament.

Playoff opener: at Desert Hills, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 61-51 win at East on Dec. 13.

Best region victory: A 77-44 play-in game victory against Uintah on Feb. 14.

Top contributors

Brian Curran, Sr. (14.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.3 spg)

Gabe Colosimo, Fr. (9.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.9 spg)

Nick Markosian, Jr. (5.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.5 spg)

Ryan Pauley, So. (5.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg)

Easton Withers, Jr. (4.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.2 spg)

Scoring offense: 49.5 ppg (22nd in 3A)

Scoring defense: 52.2 ppg (11th in 3A)

Last state championship: Juan Diego (2005 2A)

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Desert Hills in first round.

Edward’s evaluation: Juan Diego played a quality mix of 5A, 4A and 3A teams this season, and was an up-and-down team throughout. Desert Hills will arguably be the best team the Soaring Eagle will have played all year, and they’ll need to play a near-perfect game to pull off the upset.

Judge Memorial Bulldogs (15-6)

Coach: Dan Del Porto

How qualified: Finished first in Region 10 with a 10-0 record.

Playoff opener: vs. Dixie, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 62-42 win at East on Dec. 7.

Best region victory: A 58-46 win at Wasatch on Jan. 17.

Top contributors

Jacob Gondrezick, Sr., Guard (14.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.1 spg)

Alex Mancini, Sr., Guard (12.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.2 spg)

Joe Cremer, Jr., Guard (10.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.0 spg)

Patrick Neville, Jr., Forward (6.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.5 spg)

Christian Stark, Sr., Forward (6.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.4 spg)

Scoring offense: 58.6 ppg (6th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 50.5 ppg (8th in 3A)

Last state championship: 2008

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Desert Hills in semifinals.

Edward’s evaluation: If anyone is capable of spoiling the Region 9 party in the state tournament, it’s probably Judge. It plays excellent defense, has one of the best point guards in 3A and one of the best big men in 3A. To win a state championship, Judge would likely have to beat three Region 9 teams, including two in St. George.

Morgan Trojans (18-3)

Coach: Jim Wiscombe

How qualified: Finished first in Region 11 with a 12-0 record.

Playoff opener: vs. Spanish Fork, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 61-54 win against Hurricane at the Sevier Valley Center on Dec. 2.

Best region victory: A 68-54 win at Ben Lomond on Jan. 27.

Top contributors

Jake Miles, Jr., Forward (19.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.5 spg)

Boston Saunders, Sr., Center (14.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg)

Christian Wiscombe, Sr., Guard (6.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.5 spg)

Colby Skinner, Sr., Guard (5.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.4 spg)

Jaran Bennett, Sr., Guard (4.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.8 spg)

Scoring offense: 61.9 ppg (2nd in 3A)

Scoring defense: 53.8 ppg (12th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1974

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Hurricane in quarterfinals.

Edward’s evaluation: The Trojans may not have quite the same pure talent as last year, but they’ve put together another impressive season with 18 regular season wins. The three best 3A teams Morgan played this year were Hurricane, Cedar and Park City, and it won just one. To make a deep run in the playoffs, Morgan will need to beat quality teams more consistently.

Ogden Tigers (10-10)

Coach: Jace McKee

How qualified: Finished tied for third in Region 11 with Bear River at 6-6, but lost the coin flip and heads into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

Playoff opener: at Payson, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 58-42 win against Mountain Crest on Dec. 7.

Best region victory: A 58-42 win against Bear River on Jan. 4.

Top contributors

Spencer Smith, Sr., Guard (15.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 2.1 spg)

Lyden Egbert, Sr., Forward (15.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.9 spg)

Blake Newman, Sr., Guard (7.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 0.9 spg)

Anthony Sattiewhite, Sr., Forward (6.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.4 spg)

Kael Buck, Sr., Guard (6.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.4 spg)

Scoring offense: 56.2 ppg (10th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 54.1 ppg (14th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1992

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Payson in first round.

Edward’s evaluation: Ogden is still probably kicking itself for losing to Grantsville in the regular season finale. That loss put the Tigers at the mercy of a coin flip, and now they must open the playoffs as Region 12 champion. Ogden has shown glimpses of being a good team, as evidenced by its win over Mountain Crest, but it also has several bad losses like the Grantsville loss.

Park City Miners (11-10)

Coach: Caleb Fine

How qualified: Finished third in Region 10 with an 5-5 record

Playoff opener: at Hurricane, Saturday, 5 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 51-31 win against Morgan on Dec. 29.

Best region victory: A 55-42 win at Uintah on Feb. 3.

Top contributors

Britton Buford, Sr., Guard (15.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.6 spg)

Jono Schettler, Sr., Guard (14.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, 2.5 spg)

Jordan Ruda, Sr., Center (10.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.7 spg)

Brae Dilley, Sr., Guard (5.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.0 spg)

Heath Vincent, Sr., Guard (4.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 6.5 apg, 4.5 spg)

Scoring offense: 53.6 ppg (14th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 50.2 ppg (7th in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Hurricane in first round.

Edward’s evaluation: With three players averaging in double figures, this year’s Park City team clearly has some talent. That hasn’t always translated into wins though, with a mediocre 5-5 record in region. Now it must travel to Southern Utah for a very difficult first round game. An early exit is likely, which would be a frustrating end to such a promising season.

Payson Lions (17-4)

Coach: Dan Lunt

How qualified: Finished first in Region 12 with a 10-0 record

Playoff opener: vs. Ogden, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 46-35 win at Provo on Dec. 6.

Best region victory: A 59-47 win at Delta on Feb. 3.

Top contributors

Clint Bateman, Sr., Guard (19.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.7 spg)

Tanner Newbold, Sr., Guard (17.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.6 spg)

Bret Rowley, Sr., Guard (6.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg)

Kaden Jensen, Sr., Guard (4.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.6 spg)

Jamon Lunt, Sr., Forward (3.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.1 apg, 0.2 spg)

Scoring offense: 60.8 ppg (3rd in 3A)

Scoring defense: 50.1 ppg (5th in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Cedar in quarterfinals.

Edward’s evaluation: The Lions have largely flown under the radar in 3A this year, but they’re certainly a potential sleeper team in the playoffs. With that said, they only played one 3A team outside of their own region this year, and that was a 56-50 loss to Wasatch. Was that an anomaly, or was that a sign that Payson isn’t in 3A’s elite company?

Spanish Fork Dons (10-11)

Coach: Jesse Roberts

How qualified: Finished in a fourth-place tie with North Sanpete in Region 12 at 4-6, but beat North Sanpete in a tiebreaker to qualify as the No. 4 seed.

Playoff opener: at Morgan, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 60-49 win against Timpview at UVU on Nov. 22.

Best region victory: A 71-60 win against Delta on Jan. 20.

Top contributors

Clay Banks, Sr., Forward (18.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 2.0 spg)

Elliott Naulu, Sr., Guard (13.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.7 spg)

Hayden Nielsen, Sr., Guard (11.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, 2.1 spg)

Cameron Money, Jr., Forward (4.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.6 apg, 1.6 spg)

Christian Taele, Sr., Forward (3.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.2 spg)

Scoring offense: 59.4 ppg (4th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 57.2 ppg (21st in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Morgan in first round.

Edward’s evaluation: When Spanish Fork beat Timpview to start the season, it looked like the Dons were going to be a real force in their first year in 3A. That hasn’t been the case as the Dons finished the regular season below .500 and needed to win a play-in game just to qualify for the playoffs. A win at Morgan seems unlikely.

Wasatch Wasps (11-10)

Coach: Lonnie Magnussen

How qualified: Finished second in Region 10 with an 8-2 record

Playoff opener: vs. Cedar, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 56-50 win at Payson on Jan. 4.

Best region victory: A 61-54 win at Park City on Jan. 6.

Top contributors

Matt Pelo, Sr., Guard (19.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.0 spg)

Zack Watts, Sr., Guard (11.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.2 spg)

Cale Strong, Sr., Guard (9.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.2 spg)

Parker Davis, Sr., Guard (5.0 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.3 spg)

Jake Segura, Sr., Center (2.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.1 apg, 0.1 spg)

Scoring offense: 55.4 ppg (12th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 55.0 ppg (18th in 3A)

Last state championship: 2011

Prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Cedar in first round.

Edward’s evaluation: The two-time defending state champs are an afterthought in the 3A conversation this year. A 3-peat is very unlikely, however, there’s enough talent on this team and the bracket is favorable enough that the Wasps could win a game or two.

Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer.

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