Boys basketball preview: Sizing up Ben Lomond, Ogden, Morgan and Layton Christian | News, Sports, Jobs
BRIAN WOLFER, Special to the Standard-Examiner
Ben Lomond’s Chauncey Whitty (15) tries to drive against Ogden’s Jace Oliverson on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, at Ogden High School. (BRIAN WOLFER, Special to the Standard Examiner)
There are a few big changes in 3A boys basketball this season that affect Region 13 teams. First, Layton Christian moved from 3A to 4A after winning both the Region 13 and 3A state titles last year.
Second, Juan Diego moved from 3A to 5A after appearing in last year’s 3A semifinals.
So for the sake of Ben Lomond, Ogden and Morgan, that all means the defending champ in their region (LCA) is gone along with one of last year’s state semifinalists (Juan Diego) — meaning things appear more open in both the region and state this year.
Below is an alphabetical, team-by-team preview of the Region 13 teams and Layton Christian.
Junior center Jake East is Ben Lomond’s lone returner starting from last year’s Scots team that went 15-10 overall, 5-5 in Region 13 and lost in the state quarterfinals. It was BL’s best season since the 2014-15 campaign, which also finished with a 15-10 mark.
East may be the team’s only returning starter, but he had a lot of good moments last year, including a contested layup that proved to be the game-winner in a 43-40 win over Ogden last year.
“Jake is an inside-out threat with a much-improved IQ and understanding of the high school game from a year ago,” BL coach Tanoka Beard said.
Mason Williams is a returner Beard thinks can be a contributor alongside newcomers Davian Muñoz, Jaxon Watson, Hunter Christensen, Aunese Tuatagaloa and Hayden Brown. Physical size and rebounding are possible weaknesses, but Beard thinks the team will make up for that in other areas.
“We are a tough, resilient group and I expect that these traits will translate well for us during the very difficult grind of the high school basketball season,” he said.
Ben Lomond is 0-1 with a 66-48 loss to Northridge last week. The Scots play in the Bear River Winter Classic this weekend against Union, Uintah and Canyon View. They also have Roy (Dec. 20) and St. Joseph (Jan. 14) on the non-region schedule.
The two crosstown rivalry games against Ogden are scheduled for Friday, Jan. 20, at Ogden and Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Ben Lomond.
Morgan postponed tryouts by a week because of the football team’s run to the state championship game and, as of Wednesday morning, hadn’t played a game yet this season.
Among the Trojans’ returners are senior Eli Bailey (7.0 points, 5.5 rebounds per game), senior Josh Criddle (6.4 points, 9.2 rebounds), senior Aiden Harris (7.0 points, 3.1 rebounds), junior Luke Olson, senior Gavin Turner, senior Cade Johnson and senior Joe Weight.
They’re considered a favorite in Region 13, along with Grantsville. The Trojans’ top two scorers from last year are gone, with Nixan Ordyna graduating and Alex Fisher transferring to Davis.
Morgan went 17-8 overall and 4-6 in Region 13 last year. The Trojans started region play 0-4 with two losses by one point. They beat Canyon View in the first round of the playoffs and lost to Juan Diego in an overtime quarterfinal.
This year’s all about change for Ogden, which returns zero starters from last year’s 9-13 season, after which the school fired Brock Randall as head coach and hired Trent Porter.
The Tigers graduated guards Kohl Gill, Alex Howard, Jace Oliverson and Ozzy Norton, plus 7-foot center Landen Smith. Porter said seniors Austin Johnson, Weston Moore and Chino Furniss will be leaned on for leadership, with juniors Teegan Porter, Stockton Marriott and Bingham Call as possible contributors.
“Our region is solid from top to bottom and is one of the toughest regions in 3A. Grantsville and Morgan are two of the best in the state. They’ll be tough to face and we face them both twice. South Summit and Ben Lomond each have returning centers that are nightmares to deal with,” Porter said.
Porter’s coaching staff includes former head coaches Shawn MacQueen (Ogden) and Jeff Jorgensen (Northridge, Woods Cross).
Ogden starts its season this weekend at the 3A/2A preview in Richfield, where the Tigers face Enterprise and Richfield. They’ll face Manti and Juab the following weekend during the Manti Tournament, and visit Bonneville on Dec. 20 as part of the non-region schedule.
Region games begin Jan 13. Ogden starts region play with three straight home games, then four straight road games before ending at home on Feb 10 against Morgan.
Layton Christian’s boys basketball team isn’t in 3A anymore. It’s playing this year as an unattached 4A team, meaning it doesn’t have a region but it’s eligible for the state tournament. Unattached is different from independent; Independent teams are not eligible for state tournaments.
Last year, the Eagles won 3A Region 13, the 3A state tournament and return most of their best players from that team, including British point guard Tyrese Lacey, center Souleymane Barro, guard Isaac Cubero, guard/forward Otavio Armani and guard Timmie Olubisi.
The Eagles are 2-1 and have already beaten Orem and Skyline while losing to RSL Academy by two points. Also on the schedule are Cyprus, Sky View, Wasatch Academy (twice), Juan Diego, plus tournaments in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Northridge, California. LCA doesn’t play any area teams this season.
Sky View (Cache County) appears to be one of the favorites in 4A this year with three returners who averaged double-digit scoring last year. Sky View just claimed an 18-point win over one of the 5A Region 5 favorites, Box Elder.
Ridgeline, Dixie and Snow Canyon are also possible state-title contenders, along with Layton Christian.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at [email protected], Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.
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