One can find several examples of extremes when it comes to the region races in prep basketball competition this season.
Perhaps the epitome of togetherness at the top of the league standings is 3A Region 6, where - count 'em - five teams currently share first-place honors. Bountiful, Granite, Murray, Tooele and Woods Cross all carry identical 5-3 league records, with six games left to play in the region schedule.Ironically, Jordan was in sole possession of first place just two weeks ago, but the Beetdiggers are mired in a four-game losing slump. While a 4-4 league allows the 'Diggers to be just a game out of first place, Jordan is technically the sixth-place team in today's Region 6 standings.
And remember, only four Region 6 teams advance to the 3A state tournament this season. Look for this league to go down to the wire.
As for some sizable leads in league standings, there are several teams undefeated in region play that also enjoy multi-game cushions. Provo is 6-0 in Region 4, two games ahead of Orem and Timpview; and Spanish Fork is also 6-0 in Region 8, while Springville and Pine View are both two games back.
Meanwhile, South Summit sports an 8-0 mark in Region 9, with the second- place trio of Juab, Morgan and North Sanpete all trailing by three games. That's the same scenario in Region 12, where 1A top-ranked Piute is undefeated in eight games, while all other league foes have at least three region losses.
And Sky View suffered its first league loss last week in Region 5, an 89-53 drubbing by Ogden. However, the Bobcats are still two games ahead of not only the Tigers, but other challengers such as Box Elder and Ben Lomond.
Some of the top individual efforts from last week's games, as reported to the Deseret News:
A trio of the players breaking the 30-point barrier in games last week were from the 1A ranks - ICS' Jeremy Heiser (38 vs. Rich), Dugway's Ray Wright (31 vs. Rowland Hall), and Tintic's Ryan Renzello (31 vs. Mount Vernon).
Others logging 25 points or more included Lehi's Ryan Peterson (29 vs. Emery), Provo's Kip Rollins (28 vs. Mountain View), Payson's Jerry Beck (28 vs. Pine View), Emery's Jared Butler (28 vs. Carbon), Timpview's Richard Jackson (27 vs. American Fork), Springville's Andy Crowshaw (27 vs. Payson), Ogden's Brandon Parker (27 vs. Sky View), West's Chris Stepan (27 vs. Granite), Cottonwood's Justin Weidauer (26 vs. Highland), Highland's Kerry Hicks (26 vs. Cottonwood), Union's Tai Riser (25 vs. Uintah), Tabiona's Jarrod Lefler (25 vs. Altamont), and Green River's Leon Carter (25 vs. Whitehorse).
Hillcrest canned 10 3-pointers against Granger last week, with the threesome of Ryan Kelly, John Owen and Scott Clark making three treys apiece.
Top long-range individual shooting last week included Layton's Antoine Freeland (5 vs. Roy), Brighton's John Liljenquest (5 vs. East), Taylorsville's Jeff Jenson (5 vs. Cyprus), Mount Vernon's Wes Lambson (5 vs. Tintic), Rowland Hall's Tom Kuhnel (5 vs. Dugway), Clearfield's Jason Dowdy (4 vs. Bonneville), West Jordan's Jason Rowland (4 vs. Kearns), Cyprus' Jason VanTassell (4 vs.
Taylorsville), and Tabiona's Travis Price (4 vs. Altamont).
The Granite duo of Richard Paul and Stuart Roberts not only combined for 39 points against West last week, but the two shared some sharpshooting from the line - Paul hitting on all 10 of his FT attempts and Roberts making 8 of 11.
Other top FT efforts included Union's Tai Riser (10-10 vs. Uintah), ICS' Jeremy Heiser (10-11 vs.Rich), Viewmont's John Robison (9-10 vs. Layton), S.L. Lutheran's Dan Herrmann (9-10 vs. North Summit), Spanish Fork's Robbie Reid (12-15 vs. Cedar), Timpview's Richard Jackson (11-13 vs. American Fork), American Fork's J.P. Stoddard (11-14 vs. Timpview).
Most of the midweek contests feature teams with region records above .500 against opponents with sub-.500 league marks. But there are a couple of games worth mentioning.
On Tuesday, Bingham visits Taylorsville in a key battle of second-place Region 3 teams; and Granite travels to Tooele as two of the five Region 6 leaders square off. And on Wednesday, 4A top-ranked Provo heads to Orem, with the Tigers losing by only 1 point in an earlier meeting. Elsewhere, 3A No. 3 Ogden hosts Region 5 peer Box Elder, and 2A No. 5 Hurricane meets 2A No. 2 North Sevier in a Region 10 pairing.
Friday's night's full slate of prep action offers a few more closely matched contests - like battles between league co-leaders like Alta and 4A No. 2 Cottonwood in Region 2, 3A No. 4 Bountiful and Granite in Region 6, and Wasatch at 3A No. 5 Union in Region 7.
Other matchups featuring teams either at or very close to the top include 4A No. 3 Hillcrest at Bingham in Region 3, Ben Lomond at Box Elder in Region 5, Murray at Jordan in Region 6, 3A No. 1 Spanish Fork at Pine View in Region 8, and 2A No. 2 North Sevier at Richfield in Region 10.
A couple of items of recent note . . . Wasatch coach Bill Farr logged his 300th win when the Wasps beat Uintah last week . . . Did you notice that the three largest top-ranked teams - 4A Provo, 3A Spanish Fork and 2A South Summit - are all unanimous first-place choices in this week's polls.