There's probably five or six teams in this tournament that could win the championship. There really isn't that one team that you can point to as the team to beat. —Copper Hills coach Benjamin Morley
In past years it was Brighton, Layton and American Fork. For the 2018 girls high school basketball tournament, however, it's no one.
Coaches around the state are all in accord at the outset of the 6A tournament that there's no clear favorite, and subsequently several teams could win it all.
"There's probably five or six teams in this tournament that could win the championship," said Copper Hills coach Benjamin Morley. "There really isn't that one team that you can point to as the team to beat. There's just a lot of good teams out there, and it should lead to a really fun and competitive tournament."
The Grizzlies (20-2) enter the tournament as one of the four No. 1 seeds, having won the Region 3 championship and thereby garnering a No. 2 6A ranking by the Deseret News. Morley's team will take on Pleasant Grove in the first round, an opponent he's wary of.
"There's not going to be any easy rounds in this tournament," he said. "Pleasant Grove is a well-coached team that will give us all we can handle. We'll need to be ready."
While Morley doesn't see his team as the favorite, Fremont coach Lisa Delabout sees the Grizzlies as easily one of the top teams.
"You could consider Copper Hills the favorite with what they've done this season. It's been impressive," Delabout said. "But I think there's any number of teams that could win it this year. I like how we're playing heading in, and how our team has really come together, so hopefully we can make a good run at it. But the tournament really is pretty wide open this year."
Fremont (19-2) won't surprise anyone if it proves the last team standing. The Silver Wolves have played well all season, and enter play as the No. 1-ranked team by the Deseret News.
"I think our team is a cool little mixture of some experienced veteran players who have a lot of heart with some young and really talented players," Delabout said. "They all mesh well together. They work hard and they're really humble. I really like the approach our team has shown, especially late in the season, which you want entering the tournament."
Delabout is no stranger to the tournament, having led her teams to good runs before, and feels that can work as an advantage. One coach who can't draw on like experience is Hillcrest first-year coach Devin Olenick, whose Huskies (16-4) enter as the Region 2 champions and are excited for what's ahead.
"I've been fortunate to have a group of six seniors who are really experienced and really good players," Olenick said. "There's been chemistry issues here in the past, but our success this year is because of the selfless nature of our team. The players have really bought into their roles, so we're excited about what we can accomplish in the next few days."
Bingham (16-6) edged out Westlake for the Region 4 championship, and will begin play on Tuesday versus Taylorsville as one of the four No. 1 seeds.
"We knew our region would be tough going in, so we've worked hard, improved, and we're looking forward to this week," said Bingham coach Charron Mason. "There's no clear-cut favorite, so we'll see how things work out and I know our team is excited for the opportunity to play against some really good teams."
Other top teams include Riverton (17-5) and Westlake (15-7), while other less notable teams could rise up and pull upsets.
Tournament play begins Tuesday at Salt Lake Community College and concludes Saturday with the championship game.
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