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3 thoughts on prep basketball: State title contenders, Region 13’s rise and Region 5’s misleading records

By Patrick Carr - | Dec 20, 2021

Patrick Carr, Standard-Examiner

Davis High's boys basketball team huddles during a timeout against Taylorsville on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.

Here are a handful of thoughts about the current high school basketball season so far as teams close out the first month of the season:

FREMONT GIRLS, DAVIS BOYS TEAMS LOOK THE PART OF STATE CONTENDERS

Through a month of the season, the two defending 6A state basketball champions look like contenders again.

Fremont High’s girls basketball team is 5-1; the five wins are by an average of 26.8 points, though the first two games were decided by 10 and 14 points, and both required the Silverwolves playing at their best.

They’ve had three players — Timea Gardiner, Maggie Mendelson and Mia Austin — each hit the 20-point mark in a game so far.

The lone loss was 76-54 against New Hope Academy (Maryland) on Saturday in Arizona at the Nike Tournament of Champions.

The Silverwolves have three more games in Arizona, ostensibly could come back to Utah 5-4 and not many would think much less of the team.

In Utah, Fremont has two more nonregion games left and they’re both interesting: at Skyridge on Dec. 30 and at home to Morgan on Jan. 6. FHS hasn’t lost to a team from Utah since the 2020 state title game, a streak of 31 games.

The Davis boys are also in Arizona for a tournament, where the Darts have four games against good teams and, again, could come home with four losses and be just fine.

So far, they’re 7-0 and allowing 45.6 points per game on defense (that’s been the team’s strength the past few years) and shooting 47% as a team.

Davis has beaten two of the top teams in the state already in Pleasant Grove and Olympus.

After last week’s torrid 9-of-14 shooting night, senior guard Colby Sims is now one of two starters — Max Painter is the other — shooting 50% or better from the field right now.

In four different statistical categories, senior guard Rex Sunderland is averaging nearly five or more points (14.9), rebounds (5.7), steals (4.9) and assists (4.6) per game.

Of course, Fremont and Davis aren’t the only state title contenders in their respective classifications.

Right now, Fremont is one of eight teams in the 6A girls classification, along with Syracuse and Davis, that’s either unbeaten or has one loss.

For instance, Westlake is 9-0 with eight double-digit wins, though the Thunder’s schedule has mostly been on the light side. Lone Peak is 6-0, got a high-impact transfer in Shawnessy Nordstrom from Bingham, and the Knights have pasted just about everyone on their schedule so far.

On the boys side, there appear to be really strong teams all over the classification instead of just in one spot like Region 1 or Region 4.

Davis is obviously carrying the Region 1 torch right now at 7-0, Kearns from Region 2 is 6-0, Bingham (Region 3) is 6-1, Mountain Ridge (Region 3) is 5-1 and Copper Hills (Region 3) is 6-2.

Down south in Region 4, Skyridge (6-1), Pleasant Grove (8-2) and Corner Canyon (9-2) make up a solid trio right now.

REGION 13 BOYS HOOPS HAS BECOME WAY MORE INTERESTING

Before the basketball season started, there were a couple of questions about what the mishmash Region 13 would look like, whether it would be top-heavy or competitive throughout.

The early returns indicate that it might be a little bit of both.

Ben Lomond and Ogden are both better at this stage of the season than they have in quite some time.

Ben Lomond is 5-3 — BLHS won four games all of last year — and the Scots have won five games in a row, all by double digits, dating back to Dec. 3.

Their next four games are on the road and BLHS doesn’t have a home game until Wednesday, Jan. 12, in the Region 13 opener against Grantsville.

Ogden is 4-4 — the Tigers only won two games all last season — and has had a “cardiac cats” experience so far. The Tigers won the season opener 64-62 at North Summit, then had a buzzer beater by Kohl Gill in a 74-72 win over Kanab and an overtime 53-51 win over Juab.

Despite what was ultimately a big loss at Bonneville, Ogden had a good first half and ended up scoring 53 points total, being the first team to hit the 50-point mark against the Lakers this year.

As of Sunday, Layton Christian is 3-3 and currently playing in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas.

But LCA is always around .500 or so in nonregion play owing to a schedule of exclusively higher-classification schools and out-of-state competition. The Eagles will definitely be game for Region 13.

Then there’s Morgan, which with a 7-1 record has nearly eclipsed last year’s win total of nine already.

Senior guard Nixan Ordyna averaged 17 points per game on 50% shooting through the first seven games, with four additional players averaging 6 or more ppg.

The Trojans have had one of the easier schedules in 3A but are beating teams they’re supposed to beat right now and could enter region play with a 10-1 mark.

Consider the two out-of-area teams in the region are Grantsville, 6-0, and South Summit, 5-4, and Region 13 definitely looks pretty interesting from a competition standpoint.

Grantsville went 18-3 last year, won Region 13 and made the state semifinals. The Cowboys are expected to either defend their region title or at least finish in the top half.

FOR THE REGION 5 GIRLS TEAMS, RECORDS ARE MISLEADING

Dive in a little bit and the records are a little misleading. As of Sunday, the six teams in the region have a combined 29 losses, 11 of which are by single digits including a buzzer beater.

Box Elder is 5-3 with two single-digit losses, but the Bees have three players averaging double-figure scoring, they shoot pretty well and they share the ball pretty well (13.7 assists on 19.5 made field goals per game through the first seven).

Northridge is 3-4 but just got leading scorer Madison Hosino back in the lineup and she’s averaging 12 points per game over the four games she’s been back. Through the first six games, the Knights averaged 14.1 offensive rebounds per game.

Bonneville is 2-8 against 10 teams — seven are 6A schools — that have a combined 54-26 (.675 winning percentage) record. The remaining teams on the nonregion schedule are Roy (4-4), Weber (3-3) and West Jordan (5-2).

Bountiful is 4-3 and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer against Olympus from being 5-2. Woods Cross is 4-3 and two bad first quarters away from possibly being 6-1.

Viewmont’s 3-8 and in the same boat as Bonneville. The Vikings’ nonregion opponents are a combined 57-34 (.626).

KEY UPCOMING GIRLS GAMES

(Team records as of Sunday)

Tuesday: Ridgeline (10-0) at Davis (7-0), Syracuse (7-1) at Olympus (7-1), Bear River (2-6) at Box Elder (5-3)

Thursday, Dec. 30: Fremont (5-1) at Skyridge (5-1), Riverton (7-1) at Syracuse (7-1)

KEY UPCOMING BOYS GAMES

(Team records as of Sunday)

Tuesday: Ben Lomond (5-3) at Roy (1-5), Bonneville (7-0) at Weber (3-4), Bear River (2-4) at Box Elder (5-3)

Thursday, Dec. 30: Bonneville (7-0) at Fremont (4-2), Bear River (2-4) at Ogden (4-4)

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