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SALT LAKE CITY - The Lone Peak Knights are once again the team to beat in 5A according to the first KSL Coaches' Poll of the season. They are picked to defend their state title and bring back several talented players from last year's team.
These former region rivals had some great battles the past few seasons. The intensity of the rivalry is sure to continue Friday night.Sky View at Fremont
No. 1 Sky View survived at Northridge Tuesday night. They face a more difficult road challenge against the Silverwolves who are coming off a disappointing loss to 3A/2A Preseason Preview - Friday and Saturday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield
Too many great matchups to pick just one. A great tournament that features the best of 2A and 3A in the state of Utah. Olympus at Woods Cross Friday 7pm
These two teams played a classic in last year's quarterfinals. Many of the players in the game have moved on but those that remain haven't forgotten. It should make for an intense early season matchup.Mountain Crest at Timpview Friday 7pm
Mountain Crest opened the season with a stunning 57-40 win at Fremont. Now they face another road challenge at Timpview. A win in Utah County might be enough to propel the Mustangs into the top five.
Junior guard Nick Emery leads the way for the Knights. The younger brother of former BYU guard Jackson Emery has also committed to play at BYU. Emery averaged 21 points per game last season and scored 30 or more points in a game four times. He's not the only talented player on the Knights roster. Sophomore T.J. Haws started as a freshman and averaged 14 points per game. Talon Shumway is extremely athletic and plays above the rim while having the ability to shoot the 3. Brody Berry brings speed and energy to the backcourt while Chase Hansen provides a physical presence inside.
The Knights are loaded with talent but repeating as champions won't be easy. There are other teams in the state that have the talent to challenge Lone Peak. American Fork is ranked 2nd in the poll. They return forward Quincy Bair and point guard Marcel Davis. Both have signed letters of intent to play for Stew Morrill at Utah State. The Cavemen also return guard Austin Waddoups who will provide perimeter scoring.
This junior is getting plenty of interest from colleges around the West and will continue do to so with performances like he's had early in the season. Van Dyke scored 32 points against Hillcrest and 28 points against Hunter.Justin Johnson, Green River
Johnson lit up the scoreboard last season and is off to another great start. He poured in 38 points with 5 three pointers in a season opening win over Tabiona.Jordan Loveridge, West Jordan
It can be argued that Jordan is the best player in the state and he is off to a great start to his senior season. Loveridge scored 31 points and was a force on the boards in a season opening win over Herriman.Shad Watson, Box Elder
Watson is off to a great start this season lighting up Ogden for 28 points and 4 three pointers then did even better against Layton with 30 points and 4 more threes.Tyler Crosbie, Mountain Crest
Crosbie made 5 three pointers and scored 26 points in an impressive upset on the road against Fremont.
West Jordan is another 5A team loaded with talent that has the ability to win a state title. The Jaguars feature forward Jordan Loveridge who has signed to play for Larry Krystkowiak at Utah. Loveridge averaged 23 points per game as a junior and is the highest rated senior in the state by scouting services. Loveridge is not alone on the Jags roster. Transfer Jaden Jackson led the state in scoring last season at Skyline and is joined in the backcourt by another talented senior Jordan Pryor.
A pair of Region 1 teams round out the 5A rankings. Davis is number 4 followed by Fremont who reached last years semifinals.
Sky View is the team to beat in 4A according to the coaches'. The Bobcats return 6-8 forward Casey Oliverson who is committed to Utah State. He is joined by another Utah State commit Jalen Moore. The 6-7 junior is expected to be a breakout star this season. Bountiful is ranked 2nd in the state despite losing several starters to graduation. The Braves already have two impressive wins over Northridge and Bingham.
Utah County is well represented in the poll with Orem at No. 3 and Provo at No. 4. The Tigers return plenty of experienced players along with Woods Cross transfer Zach Hunsaker. The Bulldogs also return a number of players coming off a rare losing season.
Defending champion Highland rounds out the poll at No. 5. The Rams will rely on the experience and skill of David Divver and Liam Thomas.
Desert Hills is the team to beat in 3A. The Thunder returns 6-5 senior Tyler Ott who recently committed to play college basketball at UC Davis. Ott and guard Brandon Simister form one of the best point guard/big man combos in the state. The Thunder's toughest challenger may come from their own region. Hurricane has the talent to add a basketball state championship trophy to place next the football trophy they took home in November. 6-9 center Boston Gubler leads the Tigers.
Payson enjoyed success at the 4A level and should be even better in 3A. Clint Bateman and Tanner Newbold lead the Lions.
Wasatch has won the last two 3A state titles but will have to replace one of the most talented senior classes in the history of their program. Matt Pelo is their lone returning starter and is the team's leading scorer after two games.
Another Region 9 team rounds out the top five in 3A. The Cedar Redmen bring back talent from a team that reached last year's quarterfinals and add transfer John Ursua to the mix.
The 2A and 1A polls will be released next week.