Though the Syracuse Titans have sat atop the state standings all year and have slid through the preseason and regular season schedule without a single blip in their record, Syracuse coach Robert Reisbeck warns against giving his team too much credit heading into the state tournament.
"We're going to have to play our best basketball. It all starts with us on the defensive end of the floor," Resibeck noted about his team that is a nice compilation of experience and youth.
"The kids have bought into the system and put in a lot of time and energy. This is only our third year as a school," he said, noting that though his team had a nice run in the playoffs last year, anything can happen once you start talking about state championships. And that anything could start sooner rather than later as the Titans drew an unappealing matchup with the Alta Hawks in the tournament's second round.
Though Alta has been struggling a bit of late, the Hawks have some heat from the outside and knock 3-pointers down in bunches, led by players like Becca Beaudoin, Erin Foster and Makenzi Morrison.
The Titans have their work cut out for them early on, but they have the talent and work ethic to deal with any problems that come their way.
"Jen Hazlett does everything at both ends of the floor, inside and outside, and at the defensive end, she's fabulous. Brittney is long and plays solidly at both ends of the floor, and Megan Butler gets our defense going. Her energy is awesome," Reisbeck noted about some of the stars on his team.
But the playoff road is long and winding for Syracuse, as after a second round matchup against the Hawks, the Titans would have to face the winner of one of the most intriguing matchups in the playoffs' second round.
Riverton plays host to Brighton in what most would consider a toss-up matchup that really could roll either way as the Bengals have been on a roll during the final part of the season.
Kylie Hirschi, Shelbi Everett and Katie Tominaga are getting hot at just the right time, and Riverton will have a lot to deal with from the quick and solid Bengals' squad.
The Silverwolves are led by the inside presence of Megan Johnson, and either of these teams could pose problems for Syracuse in a tough quarterfinal matchup. In the other half of the Syracuse semifinal lies Skyline, which is still young but stands undefeated in Region 2. Whitney Jenkins and sophomore Miquelle Askew lead the determined Eagles, which will get a tough matchup of their own in the quarterfinals against the winner of the Lone Peak versus Taylorsville game.
Another intriquing matchup pits the Warriors and the hot Knights in the second round. Lone Peak will be playing behind the firepower of Whitney Johnson and Marquelle Funk and could make some serious noise in the 5A scene after upsetting American Fork in its final game of the regular season. Taylorsville will count on Saane Lo'amanu and Whitney Mitchell if they're to move past the Knights. The other most intriguing matchup of the 5A playoffs comes between 5A No.2 Bingham and the Pleasant Grove Vikings, who defeated the Miners at Bingham during the regular season. Both teams are different and Rand Rassmussen is sure to have his team ready for the two teams' second battle of the season. Bingham is led by Dezz Ramos in a very balanced attack that is Bingham basketball. This team is fast and has quick hands and feet and plays a solid brand of ball that starts with defense and extends to offense.
Pleasant Grove is all about 6-foot-6 sensation Jen Hamson, who needs to stay out of foul trouble to give her team a chance, and Danyele Hoffman, who can really drain some nice shots from the outside, in addition to leading her team from the point guard position.
The Region 4 champions, American Fork, will of course also be in the mix and might have the easiest route to the semis if they keep on their game.
Amy Krommenhoek, Makenzie Moea'i, Laini Kalumbi and Grace Farnsworth lead the solid defending champions back into the tournament.
Clearfield and Fremont, a pair of solid squads from Region 1, could also give some teams trouble along the way.