The top eight seeds all advanced to the quarterfinals, headlined by tournament favorite Fremont and defending state champion Bingham.
Edward’s Evaluation: The tournament favorites haven’t lost a game to a Utah team all season, and it’s hard to imagine that will change this week at the University of Utah. Fremont leads the state in scoring offense and scoring defense, and has a 29-point average margin of victory. It’s only close in-state game all season was a 63-62 win at Copper Hills back on Dec. 5. Incredibly, Fremont’s five leading scorers are all underclassmen, which could be the start of a dynasty this week.
Edward’s Evaluation: Lone Peak tore through Region 4 with a perfect record, and didn’t skip a beat in a big second round win over Layton. Balance has been one of the keys all season, and it will definitely be critical against a high-scoring Copper Hills team in the quarterfinals. Perimeter defense will especially be important against quick Grizzlies point guard Eleyana Tafisi. If Lone Peak takes care of business in the quarters, a potential third game against region foe Westlake awaits in the semis.
Edward’s Evaluation: It was a wild ride for Westlake in region play as it split with Skyridge and American Fork and then lost both games against Lone Peak. In the second round it barely held on to beat Jordan. Against defending state champion Bingham in the quarterfinals, the Thunder will need to be sharp from the outset because most of Miners key contributors from last year’s championship run are back.
Edward’s Evaluation: Syracuse only lost three games all season, and two of them were against region foe Fremont. The Titans would love another shot at the tourney favorites, and they can get it with a quarterfinal win on Wednesday. Defending the perimeter will be key as Skyridge is one of the better shooting teams in 6A. Syracuse’s defense ranked third in 6A throughout the season.
Edward’s Evaluation: At the start of region play Skyridge occupied the top spot in the RPI rankings, but it eventually fell to fifth as it dropped four games in region play. The shots stopped falling for the Falcons during the rough stretch, and it’s no secret what needs to happen against Syracuse in the quarterfinals to try and advance. If the 3-pointers are falling in the quarterfinals they’ve got a chance.
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Edward’s Evaluation: The defending state champs didn’t exactly build a ton of momentum heading into the playoffs as they dropped three regions games, and were 3-2 over its final five. The experience is there to make a run, but the Miners will need to match Westlake’s defensive mentality in the quarterfinals to try and march on this week.
Edward’s Evaluation: Last year’s 6A runner-ups played a very tough schedule both in the preseason and in region play, which shows as it lost seven games. Most of those losses were close though, including a one-point loss to No. 1 Fremont back in December, and the Grizzlies are certainly capable of making a deep run again this week. It faces a difficult quarterfinal game against No. 2 Lone Peak, one of the top defensive teams in 6A.
Edward’s Evaluation: A year later, Herriman is in the exact same situation facing Fremont in the quarterfinals. Last year it lost by 17 points, and to have any hope of a different outcome this week Herriman’s sometimes potent offense will need to play easily its best game of the season, and then hope it can somehow slow down Fremont as well. It’s a tall task, but with wins over Copper Hills, Skyridge and Bingham this year it has proven it can compete and win against great competition.
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