Grantsville head coach Bryan Detweiler’s goals have been the same all season: to win Region 13 and to win a Class 3A state title.
“I think our region is, from top to bottom, solid,” Detweiler said. “Every night you’ve got to go out and give your best effort, or anybody can beat anybody.”
There’s no doubt a league championship will put Grantsville in a better position for the 3A state bracket, but that’s a little too far down the line for the Cowboys to talk specifics about — at least right now.
“We’ve got a tough region with Summit Academy and Morgan,” Grantsville senior guard Ryan Potter said. “We feel if we play good basketball, sound basketball, like we were at the beginning of the season, then we’ll be fine. We’ll be right in there and we’ll beat them, but it just depends on what kind of team shows up.”
The Cowboys have struggled a little bit with consistency, riding a rollercoaster through the Utah Autism Foundation Holiday Classic at Olympus High School, in which they lost to Desert Hills by 19 in a poor showing.
So after Wednesday’s shot of confidence in the 20-point win over Merit Academy, coupled with a emotional high stemming from the fourth quarter comeback in the 63-59 neutral-site win over county-rival Tooele, Grantsville has to like where it’s headed, coming into Wednesday’s Region 13 opener against South Summit.
“Anyone can win in any circumstance, I feel. I mean, it’s high school basketball,” Grantsville senior guard Kevin Roberts said. “No matter who it is, we’ve just got to go out there, and play and have fun.”
Grantsville (10-5) is one of the favorites to win Region 13, but it won’t exactly be a cake walk to get to the league’s No. 1 seed in the Class 3A state tournament.
Morgan (11-2) is perhaps the hottest team in the league right now. The Trojans are fresh off a win against Tooele, in which four players scored in double-digits. Morgan made nine triples against Uintah in the 15-point win over just before the holiday break, and the Trojans average nearly seven 3-pointers per game.
Grantsville hasn’t shown an ability to consistently defend the perimeter, as evident in losses to hot-shooting teams like Cyprus, Emery and Alta, in which opponents averaged more than 10 makes from behind the 3-point line. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys handle Morgan senior guard Cade Russell, who averages 18 points per game on his outside shooting.
The Trojans beat Layton Christian 79-74 on Friday, with Russell and three other players scoring in double figures — Morgan hit 12 shots from 3-point range in that win.
Morgan will open league play at home to Summit Academy on Wednesday and play Grantsville January 17.
South Summit (8-4) has a schedule that mirrors a few common opponents from Grantsville’s schedule. The Wildcats beat Park City by 14 while Grantsville beat the Miners in a close game. South Summit lost to Ogden by six while Grantsville beat the Tigers by 30. The Wildcats and Cowboys both lost to Emery by just less than 10.
The Wildcats are fresh off a two-game win streak highlighted by Thursday’s rivalry win over North Summit — Kael Atkinson, Justin Worthen and Bruce Mitchell all scored in double-figures in the 56-44 win over the Braves. The Wildcats will open league play at Grantsville on Wednesday.
Summit Academy (7-3) started the season on a six-game win streak. The Bears have put up big numbers so far this season, averaging a little more than 68 points per game. They scored 88 in a three-point win over Green Canyon in November. Seniors Isaiah Green and Tyler Kartchner lead the team in scoring with an averages of more than 10 points each per game.
Most recently, the Bears lost their rematch with Green Canyon on Friday, but Green still put 18 points on the board. Summit Academy will open region play at Morgan on Wednesday and play Grantsville on January 24.
Judge Memorial (3-9) has struggled so far this season, but the Bulldogs could surprise teams when league play finally rolls around. Junior Tarver Mac started the year well, averaging 14 points through the team’s first eight games, but he has failed to score more than seven in the four games Judge has played since Christmas. Senior Parker Edgington, however, scored 17 and 11 points, respectively, in Judge’s games against Highland and Murray so far in 2018.
The Bulldogs will play Layton Christian on Tuesday before opening region play at Summit Academy on Friday. Judge Memorial will play Grantsville on January 19.
“I feel we’re right in there too,” Detweiler said of the race for the Region 13 title. “They’re going to be hard region games. Every game is going to be a challenge.”
Detweiler said the Ford Performance Racing School will offer free ice cream to everyone in the building when an opposing player misses two free throws in the same trip to the charity stripe during the fourth quarter of any home region matchup.
Author’s note: Tavin Stucki has covered prep sports in Utah for more than nine years. This story was not subject to the approval of the Grantsville basketball program.