While the big schools won't start their league schedules until January, many of the smaller schools in 3A, 2A and 1A are already off and running in their league schedules, playing games for real.

In 3A, look south this year, where Dixie, Cedar City and Pine View all have strong teams along with Emery and Richfield.In 2A, unbeatens Beaver and Manti are the top teams so far, while 1A looks wide open with the largest class on the state with 31 teams.

The 3A, 2A and 1A tournaments will be played on consecutive weekends at Southern Utah University. The 3A tournament will be Feb. 24-26, the 2A will be March 3-5 with the 1A set for March 9-12.


Dixie (8-2) finished third in the 3A tournament last year with a team that included juniors in starring roles. Scott Leavitt and Jason Stilson, second-team all-staters a year ago, are now seniors and looking toward a state title this time around.

Elsewhere in Region 9, Cedar City (8-3) counts on a couple of juniors in David Evans and Todd Garrett along with senior guard Brian Redd. Pine View (8-3) has one of the top big men in 3A in 6-foot-6 Ryan Lewis and an able guard in Jon Johns. Hurricane (4-5) lost four starters from last year's state runner-up team in 2A, but Kory Wright is back along with Jake Murphy.

Lehi (6-5) was the surprise winner of the 3A title last year, but the Pioneers lost all their starters. Coach Chad Wilson has a good shooting team, but lacks size with no one taller than 6-3.

That's the problem with the rest of Region 10, except for Wasatch (1-7), which has decent size. The Wasps are off to a slow start, but have an excuse having played five 4A teams this year. High-scoring Curt Davis leads the way.

Uintah (4-8) will try to keep up with a small team led by Rhett Deets, while first-year coach Tom Hicks has no height to work with at Park City (3-5).

Union (2-5) also has a new coach in Jeff Hanke, who hopes some of the magic from from the football state championship rubs off on the hardwood.

Height isn't a problem in Region 11. Emery (7-1) has another Bradley, in 6-9 junior Justin Bradley, who has big footsteps to follow in brother Shawn. Stephen Grant also checks in at 6-9.

Carbon (6-3) has the tallest player in 6-10 Dolan Raby, who is getting looks from some Division I schools. He's aided by 6-6 Grady Buchmiller and junior guard Jeremy Jewkes.

Richfield (7-1) is off to a strong start behind Ryan Oldroyd, one of the state's top junior golfers leads the Wildcats. Delta (5-6) has a 6-7, 6-6, 6-5 front line led by Joel Taylor. North Sanpete (2-6) will be hard-pressed to make it to state in this tough region.


Region play has already started in both 2A regions and as expected defending state champion Beaver and perennial power Manti are off to quick starts. Both schools are not only unbeaten in league play but in non-league play as well.

Manti (5-0) is off to a 2-0 start in Region 12, knocking off its two top challengers in Morgan and South Summit. Kris Jorgensen leads the Templars, who start two players named Richard Anderson (one goes by Rich).

Morgan (5-1), with several athletes from the state champion football team, could find similar success in basketball this year. Led by Matt McKee, the Trojans are very deep and have already beaten 3A's Park City and Wasatch.

South Summit (5-1) has a top player in Rob Maynes, who gets help from Lance Leithead and Jay Woolstenhulme. Millard (3-1) could go a long ways this year behind Colby Gillins.

Grantsville (2-4) relies on football stars Jared Keisel and Dano Didericksen, while Gunnison (1-4) goes to Ryan Newman. North Summit (1-4) has its usual share of Richins' - Jeremy, Courtney and Troy - to lead the way.

It could be a long year for Juab (0-5).

Beaver (5-0) won last year's state 2A title and should be the team to beat in Region 13, which has some very good teams and not-so-good teams.

The Beavers rely on the talent of 6-5 junior center Kevin Brown, who was second-team all-state as a sophomore along senior guards Clay Marshall and Wade Hollingshead. "We don't have the quickness of other years," says coach Calvin Albrecht. "We have more height and we should rebound well and play good defense."

North Sevier (4-1) may not be tall, but the Wolves have quickness and experience with Tweeb Gladwell, Mike Johnson and Rhett Hallows. Kanab (3-2) gave Beaver a good game earlier in the month and could go far with football all-stater Bucky Orton.

Down in southeastern Utah, Monticello (5-1) is making a good transition to 2A behind 6-7 Chad Tracy, while San Juan (2-3) has another good team led by 6-3 forwards Tyler Nielson and Chad Shumway.

Parowan (4-3) is small and inexperienced. Grand (1-4) has its third coach in three years in Steve Robinson. Experienced coach Larry Andersen has taken over at South Sevier (0-6), but says it will take time to build a program.


Last year, the little schools from the big city made a splash at the state tournament with Mt. Vernon making the finals, Rowland Hall the semifinals and Intermountain Christian winning a first-round game. Those schools are all in the East division of Region 14, at least a couple of them should be among the best in 1A again this year.

Rowland Hall (6-0) returns three key players from last year, Chris Alexis, Ryland Sumner and Adrian Larson and coach Dan Shwam plans to continue his run and gun style of play. Intermountain Christian (6-1) has Chris Hill, but will use a lot of underclassmen, including juniors Steve Matlak and Greg Van Heyst.

St. Joseph (3-3) also relies on juniors such as Rory McEntee and Mike Thomas.

Mt. Vernon (2-7) lost 60 points a game to graduation and will look to Brazilian Alex Guimaraes for help. Waterford (3-3) and Salt Lake Lutheran (4-5) hope to improve enough to make it to state. At Manila (0-4), coach Bob Andersen must compete with the rodeo team for players.

In the West, look for Dugway (6-1) to be the team to beat behind Kevin Chesley. Tintic (5-1) has a solid group that will contend for the region title.

Wasatch Academy (5-0) could be the surprise team in 1A behind Sal Romero. Wendover (2-6) went far in the 1A tourney last year, but don't bet much on the Wildcats this year. Meridian (3-1) will try to duplicate last year's feat of making the state tourney, while Shiloah Valley (1-3) and Salt Lake Christian (0-7) will be happy just to get a few wins.

As usual, Region 15 will be the most competitive 1A region from top to bottom. Defending state champion Valley (3-3) returns Jared Hoyt and Kyle Spencer, two key players on last year's championship squad, but has already dropped a pair of league games..

Panguitch (6-1) gained a lot of experience staring juniors last year and it's paying off this year with pure shooter Markay Englestead leading the way. Piute (3-3), which made it to the semifinals, returns Jason Reitz and Wes Torgerson. Wayne (5-1) hopes to sustain its quick start and not fade like last year.

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Enterprise (4-3) relies on 6-4 post-man Ryan Banks, who averages 23 points and 10 rebounds a game. David and Matt Shakespear lead Bryce Valley (1-4). Escalante (3-3) should be competitive all season.

Joe Hillock returns to the Milford (1-6) program he coached to a state title 16 years ago and will count on football all-staters Jared Barnes, Cody Smith and Duane Cook.

In Region 16, Tabiona (5-1) has a scoring machine in Jake Fabrizio and a solid supporting cast, while Duchesne (5-2) has one of the best all-around 1A players in Brandon Rowley, a 6-5 all-stater who can jump and shoot. Altamont (5-4), which knocked off 3A's Uintah, has Blake Bingham and Rich (3-3) with Nate Pugmire will provide good competition in the north division.

John Hughes averaged 25 points last year for Green River (1-5), which should be the best team in the weaker south division of Region 16, which includes Whitehorse (3-4), Monument Valley (1-5) and East Carbon (1-6).

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