SALT LAKE CITY — This was a banner year for Utah high school basketball.
The Beehive State had more ranked boys prep teams per capita — and the second-most overall regardless of state size — in USA Today's final rankings for the 2017-18 season.
Wasatch Academy (13th), Lone Peak (17th) and Olympus (19th) all finished in the top 19 of the Super 25 expert rankings.
Wasatch Academy, a small private school in Mount Pleasant that plays an independent schedule, finished the season 24-2 despite playing a tough schedule. According to USA Today, the Tigers' opponents had a winning percentage higher than 70 percent and all but two foes made it to the postseason.
Lone Peak went 23-4 and claimed the Class 6A championship. The Knights jumped five spots after an impressive showing in the GEICO Nationals last week. Lone Peak was one of eight teams to participate in the New York City tournament and, although it lost in the first round, played eventual champion Montverde (Florida) Academy tougher than anyone else. After surviving an 87-82 scare against Lone Peak, Montverde beat its next two opponents by 18 points apiece en route to the national championship.
Olympus dropped a couple of spots, going from No. 16 to No. 19, the final week of the rankings, but it wasn't a result of anything the Titans did or didn't do. Oly had a perfect 27-0 season and won the Class 5A title.
Florida was the only state that had more ranked teams than Utah: Montverde Academy (No. 1), University School (No. 2), Oak Ridge (No. 9) and IMG Academy (No. 23).
Nevada, Tennessee and Washington each had two programs in the rankings. Twelve states were represented by one high school: Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota, Georgia, Alabama, New Jersey, Arizona, Virginia and California.
EMAIL: [email protected]