There’s a lot of talent in 3A, and whoever is going in playing well and can carry it through those four games is going to be the team that comes out on top. —Morgan head coach Brad Matthews
From week to week throughout the 3A boys basketball season there wasn’t a lot of consistency.
Morgan defied those odds by winning all eight of its region games, but everywhere else teams just took turns beating other, making it impossible to predict what would happen on a given night.
Delta and South Sevier won their respective regions outright despite losing two games, while every other team in 3A lost at least three games.
That unpredictably has the potential to create a ton of drama during this year’s 3A state tournament which gets underway this Saturday with eight first round games at Wasatch High School.
“There’s a lot of talent in 3A, and whoever is going in playing well and can carry it through those four games is going to be the team that comes out on top,” said Morgan coach Brad Matthews, whose team heads into the tourney as the favorite.
After Saturday’s games the tourney shifts to Dixie State next Thursday through Saturday, with the championship game at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Morgan hopes to be playing on that final day, and its second-ranked scoring defense in 3A (52.2 ppg) is a big reason why it’s expected to be there.
The Trojans are no slouches either led by Cade Russell and Trey Miles, who both average in double figures.
Morgan faces a very difficult task in Saturday’s opener against Richfield, which despite its 10-11 record is not your typical No. 6 seed. Richfield endured a lot of close losses this year and it’s resume also includes wins over South Sevier, Emery, Juab, Cedar and Hurricane this season.
“It’s the state tournament, you’re going to get everyone’s best, and that’s what we’ve got all year. Hopefully that’s prepared us to play teams like Richfield and whoever else we might meet,” said Matthews
The other three games on Morgan’s half of the bracket are Manti vs. Providence Hall, Carbon vs. Grand and Grantsville vs. Union. Any of those six teams are capable of advancing to the quarterfinals.
Carbon is the only team among them with a losing record, but like Richfield most of its region losses were by five points or less.
South Sevier heads into the playoffs ranked second in 3A after an impressive 19-3 regular season, but Kaetz King’s hip injury has created some uncertainty. Coach Rhet Parsons said King won’t play in Saturday’s first round, and his status beyond that is unknown.
King is averaging 11.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg, but South Sevier has three other players who average in double figures, Caleb Barton, Brodee Tebbs and Easton Hunt.
South Sevier opens with American Leadership at 8:30 a.m., and Parsons said he’ll try and simulate that early game time with numerous early morning practices this week.
South Sevier’s half of the bracket is stacked just like Morgan’s half, with Juab vs. Summit Academy, Emery vs. South Summit and San Juan vs. Delta.
Summit Academy played Morgan tough in both region match-ups, and could present a very difficult match-up for South Sevier in the quarterfinals.
Delta heads into the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak led by sophomore Derek Smith, who is averaging 20.2 ppg.