On the Utah High School Activities Association directory, both Morgan High and Layton Christian Academy's school colors include maroon and white.

Both can add "bright red" to that list.

"First of all," says Layton Christian boys basketball head coach Bobby Porter, "we've got the big target on our back."

Morgan and LCA will get every opponent's best effort this year since they're the trophy holders in their respective classifications.

LCA graduated center Lino Saez, point guard Micah Petty, sharpshooting guard Sam Muller and lockdown defender Jesus Tomasi from last year's team that averaged 80.9 points per game, ripped through Region 16 to an unbeaten title and held off Parowan's stall-ball tempo to win the 2A state championship.

Porter says the Eagles are in a good spot, adding that they return Dominique Ramkison, who averaged 9.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 2.3 assists per game.

"I think our outlook is good," Porter said. said. "I'm happy that we do have some leadership, Im happy that these young people are working hard."

The challenge for LCA is putting everyone together, Porter said, something that will take time due to some early injuries. One player Porter mentioned as really improved was sophomore Jaxon Collins.

Morgan High returns more in the way of starters, but has a lot of roles to fill: leading scorer, top rebounder, best defender. 

The Trojans bring back Seth Hadley (8.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals), Carter Thackeray (6.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and Sam Hansen (6.0 ppg, 3.6 apg), who were last year's second, fifth and sixth-leading scorers.

Interestingly, the last team to repeat as 3A champions was Morgan in 2013 and 2014.

Also interesting: Morgan's 2013-14 team began the season having graduated its top, second and fifth-leading scorers. This year's Morgan team begins without its top, third and fourth-leading scorers.

Region 10

Brock Randall starts his second year as Ogden head coach after a 4-17 debut season. He's a little measured to start the 2019-20 campaign.

"We have a long ways to go, but I'm very pleased with our efforts and the process so far," Randall said.

A big hurdle the team faces, Randall said, is that players don't have a lot of experience winning. It's easier said than done to fix that.

As far as returners go, there are three in particular: seniors Isaiah Coria, Austin Richards and Colin Knowles.

"Those guys are pretty committed, they’ve done a tremendous job to help us establish our culture, which is important to me," Randall said.

The Tigers have rival Bonneville on the non-region schedule (Dec. 13 at Ogden High) and a mix of both tough and manageable games.

A couple miles north on Harrison Boulevard, there's a big buzz at Ben Lomond. The Scots hired former pro player and Bonneville alumnus Tanoka Beard in March as new boys basketball coach.

The last four seasons have seen Ben Lomond go a combined 18-68 but the Scots did beat Ogden last season (51-40 on Jan. 8) for the first time since 2014.

BLHS also has a mix of both tough and manageable on its non-region schedule, which includes Bonneville (Dec. 11 at Bonneville). The Ogden-Ben Lomond games are Jan. 7, 2020, (at Ogden) and Feb. 4, 2020, (at Ben Lomond)

Juan Diego is likely the favorite in the region. Sky View, the defending 4A state champion, is looked at as a favorite in that regard.

Region 11: Bear River

The team that finished second in Region 12 last year, Bear River, met the team that finished tied for third, Sky View, in the state championship game.

Bear River returns its top two scorers — Mark Huber (19.9 points, 3.3 rebounds) and Ren Fonnesbeck (14.8 points, 2.8 assists) — from last year's team that averaged 68.9 points per game and shot 50% from the field and 42% from 3-point range.

Huber is one of the best shooters and scorers in the entire state, having shot 53% overall last year and 49% from downtown.

The Bears graduated three starters but played a six-player rotation (sometimes five-player with no subs), so varsity experience is light with the newcomers.

Reggie Shaw is their new head coach, replacing Scott Hunt after he accepted Roy High's boys basketball coaching position.

Their non-region schedule gets progressively harder, starting with Ben Lomond, Ogden and North Sanpete before turning into Northridge, Roy, Morgan, Juan Diego and Layton Christian.

Region 13: Morgan

Two-time defending region champion Morgan looks for a third-straight region title for what would be the third time in school history (2001-05, 2011-14).

The Trojans' biggest challengers will be Judge Memorial (second- through seventh-leading scorers return) and possibly Grantsville (three of top five leading scorers return).

Region 17

Layton Christian has won eight straight region championships and has a 77-1 record in region games in that span, so the new Region 17 probably goes through LCA. 

The Eagles are 0-1 (44-39 loss to Tabiona) and don't play again until Dec. 11 at Rockwell, the first of three games in three days.

St. Joseph returns dynamic guard Sayveon Armstrong, who averaged 26.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.2 steals per game last year. SJC is 0-2 with losses at APA-Draper (110-63) and North Summit (89-55).

Utah Military Academy has a new coach, Sylvester Daniels. The Thunderbirds are 1-1 with a 59-44 loss to American Leadership and a 63-44 win over Merit Prep.

In the Merit win, Natarius Smith scored 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting with six assists and James Summers had 21 points with seven boards.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr via email at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @patrickcarr_ and on Facebook at facebook.com/patrickcarr17/.

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