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High school boys basketball: Wasatch Academy, South Sevier are clear-cut favorites in 2A

Editor’s note: 3A basketball preview will be published on Monday.

Check out the Deseret News leaders to see the scoring, rebounds, steals and assists leaders in 2A.

Here’s a look back at the 2A preseason capsules that were published Nov. 20.

The public vs. private debate is alive and kicking in 2A.

In one corner you have two-time state champion South Sevier, the public school team that’s loaded with talent and is the favorite in the eyes of many again in 2A.

In the other corner you have Wasatch Academy, the boarding school in Mt. Pleasant that’s made itself relevant in basketball circles the past few years by bringing in outstanding international talent.

South Sevier has dealt with significant injuries this preseason, but still owns a 6-3 record and a 30-point average margin of victory in three games against 2A foes.

Wasatch Academy is 10-1 this preseason and currently ranked No. 1 in 2A. Its best victory of the preseason was a 70-59 win over Weber (5A). In three preseason games against 2A foes, the Tigers have won by an average of 35 points.

One of those victories was a 20-point win over South Summit.

“I really don’t see anybody beating Wasatch Academy. I don’t know how you defend them. They’re so good at every position. They’re better than your best man at every position,” said South Summit coach Dusty Hatch.

Hatch wouldn’t be surprised if all seven contributors for Wasatch Academy go on to play college basketball somewhere.

Until the rules change, Hatch said complaining about Wasatch Academy’s ability to recruit just comes off as sour grapes. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel bad for the kids in 2A.

“I feel bad, not just my team, but every team in 2A. These young men have aspirations of being successful at basketball since they’ve been in fifth grade. And then you get in high school and it’s tough to compete,” said Hatch.

Wasatch Academy is led by a trio of underclassmen guards — freshman Koby McEwen, sophomore Cody John and junior Geno Luzcando, who are averaging 15.2, 14.5 and 13.6 ppg respectively.

Don’t expect South Sevier to concede its throne just yet.

Even though Rams’ coach Scott Hunt echoed Hatch’s sentiment and said Wasatch Academy is like a college team, his team is no pushover either. Led by two-time 2A MVP Race Parsons, South Sevier has posted 24-1 records the past two seasons. The SUU commit is one of three returning starters on a team that simply doesn’t lose.

“South Sevier is very good. For us to win we’ve got to go through them,” said Wasatch Academy coach Geno Morgan.

Ironically enough, if region play unfolds for South Sevier and Wasatch Academy how most expect, the two will meet in the 2A semifinals and not the championship game.

First, however, the teams need to take care of business in region play, which gets underway for many 2A teams next week.

Don’t expect Region 15 to be a breeze for South Sevier.

Richfield was the 2A runner-up a year ago, while Emery and San Juan both have strong teams too.

“Our kids have been working hard and getting better every game, especially with as young as we are,” said Richfield coach Rand Janes.

Richfield’s coach acknowledges that beating South Sevier won’t be easy, but said the key is not conceding easy buckets and making the rival Rams work for points.

Wasatch Academy’s toughest test in Region 16 should come from Manti — which split the season series last year. Gunnison is a talented team that can compete on any given night, while first-year school Merit Academy has turned heads with a 7-1 preseason record.

Down south, Beaver has emerged as the team to beat in Region 13.

With returning starters Braxton Williams, Michael Roberts and Smokey Osborn leading the way, the Beavers are 8-0 this preseason, including an impressive 55-47 win over Emery.

Trying to figure out Region 14 isn’t quite as easy.

South Summit seemed like the favorite back in November, but Hatch isn’t quite so sure anymore.

“We’re so up and down. We play well one game and we have a hard time even competing again in the next,” said Hatch, whose Wildcats are 4-5 this preseason.

Improved Rowland Hall under new coach Aaron Hinton and first-year program Summit Academy are poised to seize the region title if South Summit doesn’t get things figured out soon.

Deseret News 2A region projections

Note: Projections were picked by the Deseret News staff based on observations from the first month of the season.

Region 13

1. Beaver

2. Kanab

3. Parowan

4. Enterprise

5. Millard

Region 14

1. South Summit

2. Rowland Hall

3. Summit Academy

4. North Summit

5. Maeser Prep

6. Waterford

Region 15

1. South Sevier

2. Richfield

3. San Juan

4. Emery

5. Grand

Region 16

1. Wasatch Academy

2. Manti

3. Gunnison

4. Merit Academy

5. North Sevier

6. ALA