Carbon coach Kelly Newbold has a dream. He envisions a banner hanging from the rafters of the school's gymnasium: 1995-96 3A State Champions 4-20.
Sound farfetched? Perhaps, but in reality it could happen.Though winless in 12 preseason and eight Region 11 games, the Dinosaurs are busy preparing for a postseason appearance. As the lone playoff team without a win, Carbon is the chief beneficiary of the Utah High School Activities Association's new state basketball tournament format for 5A, 4A and 3A - everybody goes.
"Obviously we like the situation because there's always light at the end of the tunnel," said Newbold. "It gives everyone that extra boost and motivation.
"Our guys are getting excited about the opportunity of putting it together and seeing what happens," he added.
Decimated by the graduation of seven contributing seniors from last year's sixth-place state squad, the young Dinosaurs have experienced more than their share of tough-luck in a rollercoaster campaign.
"We've shown glimpses of being able to play with some of the top programs," Newbold noted. "That's what makes this so intriguing."
Everything to gain and nothing to lose.
"A situation like ours is almost like `Hoosiers,"' said Newbold. "For us, (the new format - long-favored by Newbold) couldn't have happened in a better year."
Postseason play under the new arrangment begins this week.
IN AND OUT: Teams that entered and departed the Deseret News high school basketball rankings (see page D1) this week:
BOYS - Davis (third, 5A) replaces Alta .
GIRLS - American Fork (fifth, 5A) and Manti (fifth, 2A) replacee Skyline and North Sevier .
STARS ON ICE: Utah High School Hockey Inc. will showcase its talent with two All-Star Games later this month. The Southern Region game is slated for Thursday, Feb. 22 (7:45 p.m.) at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, while the Northern Region contest is set for Monday, Feb. 26 (7:30 p.m.) at the Ogden Ice Sheet.
CHANGE OF SEASONS: Spring sports are just around the corner - March 4 to be exact. The day UHSAA guidelines allow first competitions to be held in baseball, boys' soccer, softball and track. Teams can begin practicing this Wednesday.
HEADED OVERSEAS: Bountiful sophomore Caroline Putz will join the U.S. National soccer team for a tournament in Holland next month. She is the youngest player on the U-18 squad.
DRILLING AWAY: Bountiful's Mandonelles won their 10th consecutive state drill team championship Saturday at the Dee Events Center. Coach Jan Whittaker's squad placed first in 5A prop and novelty and second in military.
Other overall winners include Logan (4A), North Sanpete (3A), Millard (2A) and Panguitch (1A).