Quiz time: Exactly how long has it been since a current member of Region 9 won a 2A state prep basketball title?
Would you believe more than a decade has past since Grantsville claimed the 1979 2A state crown. Of course, that doesn't include Park City's 1A state championship in 1980, nor does it take into account the '81, '83 and '86 2A titles earned by former Region 9 member Lehi, now part of ranks of the larger 3A schools.Grantsville: The Cowboys seem to have a balanced blend of size and experience this year. Returning starters include 6-4 senior center-forward Mike Larsen (averages of 12 points and 9 rebounds a game last year), 6-0 senior swingman Jeff Ware (8.5 points, 6.5 rebounds), and 6-2 senior frontliner Shane Allred (10.5 points, 6.8 rebounds).
Expected to fill more major roles this year for Coach Mark Hutchins are 6-0 senior guard Carter Jackson and 6-4 junior forward-center Justin Keisel.
Gunnison Valley: The Cougars boast some speed and some shooting talent, but the size is only found with unproven underclassmen who may be a year away from making much impact.
Coach Danny Hill has a rotation based on a bunch of clone-like players. The sound-alike, size-alike seniors include 6-0 guard Jared Anderson, 6-0 forward Derek Anderson and 5-10 guard Richard Christensen. Juniors who are being counted on to contribute include 6-1 forward David Mathews, 6-0 forward Derk Jensen and 5-10 Dirk King.
Juab: The Wasps' talent tale starts with 6-4 senior guard Todd Pay, a leaper who won the state slam-dunk contest this spring in conjunction with the annual Utah-Soviet game. Also, 5-8 senior guard Jason Bender can light it up from outside, while 6-5 senior center Kasey Wright anchors the inside efforts.
Another pair of seniors for first-year coach Olani Wallace are 6-3 forward Dennis Sperry and 5-11 forward Bryan Yates, while 5-10 sophomore guard Tony Pay is expected to see quality minutes as well.
Manti: Coach Craig McAffe has a youth movement on his hands - and it certainly isn't because of choice. Simply put, the defending league titlist Templars are young and inexperienced, what with no returning starters from last year's Final Four squad and only one senior currently in the starting lineup.
Erik Olsen, a 6-1 senior guard, will be counted on for leadership to the likes of 6-2 sophomore forward Steve Olsen, 6-2 junior forward Brent Rasmussen, 6-0 junior guard Mark Nielsen, and 6-0 junior guard Brad Moulton.
Morgan: The Trojans' experienced talent includes 6-2 senior Danny Ordyna, one of a half-dozen upperclassmen for Morgan, which finished just a game behind league-leading Manti in the regular season and won the 2A state tournament consolation championship with three victories after an opening-round loss.
Coach Jim Wiscombe has a pair of juniors with considerable varsity playing time in 6-2 Zac Nelson and 6-1 Mitch Johnson. Only two Trojans are sub-6-foot players, but only one - senior John McCain - tops out at 6-4.
North Sanpete: You'd think that the early weeks of the 1990-91 season would be appropriate times for the Hawks to reload, since North Sanpete was a resounding preseason favorite for the 2A title. However, Coach Chet Keisel is having to regroup, since 6-6 returning starter Randy Heiden has left the team.
However, the cupboard isn't bare, what with 6-5 senior Jeff Erickson, who averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds a game last year. Also back for North Sanpete are 6-5 senior Matt Bailey and a backcourt headlined by Daniel Christensen and Pete Allred.
Park City: A first-year coach in Dave Mascaro and just a couple of starters back for the Miners, and how has Park City responded early this season. Only by averaging 89 points a game through the first half-dozen games.
The run-and-gun backcourt is comprised in part by 5-9 senior Justin Christensen, 6-0 senior Zach Smith, and 5-8 junior Roger Osguthorpe; meanwhile, the frontline features 6-0 senior small forward Matt Marriott, 6-5 junior center Dirk Christofferson, and 6-3 junior forward Eric Francis.
South Summit: Weep few tears for Coach Kent Frazier, whose Wildcat team again averages out to approximately 6-0 per player. And that's including a pair of 6-5 individuals in senior Jamie Harris and junior Curtis Wright.
However, the key rotations will be built around shorter returning starters like the backcourt tandem of Jed Frazier and Danny Bethers (both 5-11 seniors) and 6-2 senior forward Charlie Hardman. Also tossed into key roles will be the likes of 6-2 senior center Don Richards and 6-0 Cody Snyder.