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High school basketball: Unbeaten South Sevier stands out in 2A boys tournament

MONROE – South Sevier has a chance to do what no other boys basketball team in Utah can do this season.

If the Rams can claim a 2A state title in Richfield this weekend, they will finish the 2009-10 season as the only unbeaten team in all five classifications. The odds of making such a feat happen are definitely in their favor.

While running out to a 22-0 record, South Sevier has been virtually unstoppable in every phase of the game.

On offense, the Rams average 68.7 points per game to lead the entire state in scoring. Fueling the explosive attack is senior forward Dillion Bishoff, who is averaging 21.2 points per game to rank among the top-10 scorers statewide.

On defense, South Sevier limits opponents to just 43.2 points per game – a total ranking second to Waterford among 2A teams.

"The biggest key is just that we don't have a lot of weak areas," Rams coach Scott Hunt said. "We're pretty solid and so because of that we play good team basketball. No one cares who scores as long as we're scoring. It's just been fun."

Few teams can boast a starting five as potent as the group South Sevier fields – mainly because the senior trio of Bishoff, McKay Blackburn and Orion Wilson are each outstanding playmakers in their own right.

Blackburn averaged 15 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game in region play. Wilson is averaging 6.1 assists per game while running the offense as the team's point guard.

Freshman shooting guard Race Parsons has had a major impact too. He is scoring 10.8 points per game and is the team's top rebounder with 6.9 boards per game.

While it appears the Rams' dominance could be partly fueled by a championship game loss to North Summit a year ago, Hunt doesn't believe it is as a big of a factor as people outside the program might believe.

"We really haven't made last year's runner-up spot a big issue," Hunt said. "We just went to work and we spent the whole summer playing. We played a lot of games this summer preparing for this season, mainly just because these kids love to play."

Virtually every team facing the Rams will be a heavy underdog. Still, there are other 2A teams possessing the tools to mount a state title run.

Enterprise (18-3) encountered little resistance in claiming the Region 13 crown. Indeed, South Sevier is the only instate team to defeat the Wolves this season. Enterprise has been red-hot since that time, riding 12 straight wins coming into the 2A quarterfinals.

That's probably a good thing given the tough draw the Wolves face in the lower bracket. A quarterfinal game against South Summit awaits, followed by a potential semifinal rematch against South Sevier.

Still, after playing a preseason slate which included several Region 9 teams, Enterprise feels ready to face any team.

"Our whole goal at state is to win the state championship and there's no way you can win the state championship without going through the best teams," Wolves coach Larry Shurtleff said. "It's just so happens the way our bracket is, we're going to go through them maybe earlier than later."

Region 14 had three teams advance to the 2A semifinals a year ago and could duplicate that feat once again. Four teams from the region won first-round games at SUU last weekend.

Waterford (16-3) stands out as the title favorite among the quartet by virtue of winning the region title and fielding a stout defense that allows just 42.4 points per game. The Ravens are built around dominant senior center Neal Monson – who averages 21.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per game to lead 2A players in both categories.

South Summit and Kanab could both be potential spoilers in the 2A tournament. The Cowboys (14-6) average 65.8 points per game to boast the second most potent offense in 2A and feature a nice one-two scoring punch in Rhees Jackson and Craig Brinkerhoff. The Wildcats (14-8) are on a roll with 11 wins in 13 games since a 3-6 start.

e-mail: jcoon@desnews.com