All things considered, Panquitch coach Glen Partridge would just as soon pass on any pre-state tournament accolades.
"I don't like being on top," said Partridge. "There's a lot of pressure that comes along with it."Welcome to 1A basketball.
Sporting a talented cast which features seven seniors in its top rotation, Partridge's Bobcats are considered, by a preseason straw poll of coaches, as the team to beat this year. And thus far, the Bobcats have done little to lower such expectations. Currently atop the Deseret News rankings, Panguitch, 5-2 overall, sports a 5-0 Region 15 mark.
This ball club has the ability to wear people down," said Partridge.
Three-year starters Jeramy Henrie, Kenny Tebbs and Aaron Howard led a veteran crew which includes Jared Black, Jeremy LeFevre and Mitch Miller.
Enterprise, Rowland Hall-St. Mark's, St. Joseph, Intermountain Christian, Rich, Duchesne and Dugway are among a list of probable contenders.
"It's a topsy-turvey thing," said Partridge. "You never know what's going to happen."
Region 14 East
If last season's state finish is any indication, the classification's weakest league may once again be a one horse race. Dugway's Mustangs (fourth at state) should continue their winning ways.
Whatever the case may be, Dugway should once again lead this pack.
COACHES STRAW POLL: 1. Dugway (8-0), 2. Wendover (5-5), 3. Wasatch Academy (3-2), 4. Meridian (3-2), 5. Tintic (2-5), 6. Shiloah Valley (2-3), 7. Salt Lake Christian (2-6), 8. West Desert (0-8).
Region 14 West
Three contenders and a cast of pretenders. Rowland Hall-St. Marks, Intermountain Christian and St. Joseph, all state placers last season, should once again lead this league.
COACHES STRAW POLL: 1. Rowland Hall-St. Mark's (8-0), 2. Intermountain Christian (5-3), 3. St. Joseph (4-3), 4. Waterford (3-3), 5. Salt Lake Lutheran (4-4), 6. Mount Vernon (1-8), 7. Manila (1-6).
Every game could be an adventure in this competitive circuit. Top-ranked Panguitch will have to fend off the likes of defending state champion Enterprise, always-tough Valley, Milford and Escalante for top honors.
COACHES STRAW POLL: 1. Panguitch (5-2), 2. Enterprise (4-4), 3. Valley (4-3), Escalante (3-4), 5. Milford (4-3), 6. Wayne (2-5), 7. Bryce Valley (0-6), 8. Piute (1-7).
Rich and Duchesne hope to erase last year's disappointing league showing at state. No teams placed in the affair, but the Rebels and Eagles appear capable of reversing such fortunes this season.
COACHES STRAW POLL: 1. Rich (2-3), 2. Duchesne (4-3), 3. Altamont (0-5), 4. Green River (2-4), 5. Tabiona (4-3), 6. Monument Valley (1-5), 7. Whitehorse (0-6), 8. East Carbon (1-5).