Posted On: 11/25/18 11:16 PM
While there are plenty of games to be played prior to the Utah Elite Eight, early in the season, this tournament is a basketball junkies dream! A number of the top teams in the state will be brought together in a one and down format that will crown a king early in the year. This tournament will take place on December 6th-8th at American Fork High School.
Copper Hills vs. Fremont
Almost every game in this tournament is a toss up. Copper Hills brings into this game one of the top double-double threats in the state in Trevon Allfrey. Allfrey will be a handful for Fremont and provides Copper Hills with a mismatch nightmare that they will struggle to stop.
With that said, Fremont also has one of the top backcourts in the state who are nearly impossible to stop as well. Dallin Hall and Baylor Harrop made plenty of noise last year despite only being Sophomores. These two will be more than ready to handle the responsibility of being primary playmakers as they did that last year despite their youth.
One of the biggest question marks early for both teams is: Who will the role players be? Copper Hills has the early advantage in this area with Stone Hutchings returning and strong play from Kylan Shorts over the summer.
This one is a toss up. However, Fremont gets the slight advantage due to their guards.
Davis vs. Bingham
Davis lost a lot of key contributors from last year’s team. However, they have proven returners in Tyson Garff and Brendon Redford. Further, this group always reloads instead of rebuilds. With that said, their games prior to this tournament will be intriguing to monitor as there are plenty of questions that need to be answered while Garff and Redford do their best to keep the team afloat as they address those questions.
Bingham, on the other hand, is coming off of one of their least successful seasons in recent memory. With that said, that says more about the standards of success that Bingham has rather than how bad their year was.
They bring back a solid prospect in Ethan Langston. The offense will funnel through him, and he will largely be responsible for whatever success Bingham has this season. In addition to Langston, Bingham will look to Luke Tueller to step up big. He brings back the most varsity success out of any player on Bingham and figures to run a good portion of the point guard duties.
While Bingham will be extremely competitive this season, Davis holds the early advantage in this game with Garff and Redford leading the way.
Olympus vs. Corner Canyon
Olympus will walk into every game that they play this season as a huge favorite. Their will be a lot of pressure on their shoulders as these boys set such a high standard for themselves that coming within ten points of them is an accomplishment.
The dominance that Olympus showed last year was astounding. While they lost key role players, the team brings back Rylan Jones and Jeremy DowDell. That duo should be enough to make Olympus extremely good once again. Depending on how the new role players step in, Olympus has the potential to be one of the top teams in the nation.
While Corner Canyon is not the favorite in this one, that is more of a reflection of how good Olympus is rather than saying anything negative about Corner Canyon. They are one of the top teams in the state as they will be led by a trio of 2019s who had a lot of success last year.
Gabe Toombs, Hayden Welling, and John Mitchell will all play their respective roles that will make this team extremely tough to guard. Having three guys who are capable of making the type of impact that these three will make is an absolute luxury for Canyon. This team will have a lot of success this season.
American Fork vs. Bountiful
While all of the match-ups in this 1st round are quite intriguing, this one is my personal favorite as Bountiful shocked many across the state with their deep playoff run. With that said, they will not shock many this year as they bring back the majority of last year’s team. In fact, the group was extremely solid this off-season and will be ready to make a lot of noise this year.
As if strong play over the summer wasn’t enough to justify Bountiful as a top tier team, them beating Lone Peak last week certainly is. Cameron Chism, Robert Whaley, Brigs Willard, and Isaac Kime make this one of the toughest teams to guard in the state. These four can score the basketball in an array of ways and will keep opposing teams on their heels all year.
American Fork provides a lot of intrigue as well as many are eager to see what a new coach and a transfer will do for the dynamic of an already talented team. Isaac Johnson and Trey Stewart are proven commodities who can play in this region and in 6A.
Tanner Cuff, on the other hand, has had a lot of success and brings another stretch big to the group, but will move from being the go to prospect on the team to another weapon on this potent team.
American Fork has largely under-performed the past couple of seasons, but the group will have a new coach and plenty of talent. They demonstrated just that in their blow out win of Layton in game 1. With that said, Bountiful is the favorite in this one.
Bountiful will continue to play at a high level and make it to the championship against Olympus. Despite Bountiful’s talent, they will be overwhelmed by Olympus.