By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography) & Kevin McInnis
It’s the final week of play in 4A and 5A boys basketball. With just one game to go before the postseason begins, there is still much to be decided. Here is a look at where things stand as those season finales tip off Tuesday and Wednesday night.
We know which four teams will be in the state tournament as Weber and Sky View have locked up the top two seeds from Region 1. Fremont and Mountain Crest will also be in the playoffs, but which team will carry the No. 3 vs. the No. 4 seed is unknown until after those two teams go head-to-head Wednesday night at Fremont.
Mountain Crest holds a one-game advantage heading into that matchup, but a Fremont win creates a tie for third place and likely a coin toss to assign final tournament seeding.
Layton sits atop Region 2 and holds a tiebreaker advantage over second-place Davis due to a head-to-head sweep of the Darts, so the defending state champion Lancers will be the No. 1 seed, with Davis heading into the tournament as the No. 2.
Viewmont is definitely in, but since Syracuse swept the Vikings, a Viewmont loss to Davis Wednesday combined with a Titan win over West would send Syracuse to the postseason with the No. 3 seed and the Vikings in as No. 4. That is a likely scenario, but it’s also possible the Titans could slip to a play-in game for the fourth spot.
If Syracuse loses that game and Hunter finds a way to upset league-leading Layton, the Titans and Wolverines would be tied in fourth and a play-in game would be required.
The top three positions are locked in for Region 3, with league champion Bingham holding the No. 1 seed, Copper Hills taking No. 2 and Brighton set to enter the state tourney in the third position. The No. 4 spot is on the line Tuesday night when West Jordan closes out the season at Jordan.
The Beetdiggers hold a one-game advantage over the Jags, so a Jordan win sends it on to the tournament. A West Jordan victory, however, would create the need for a play-in game rematch between the two teams for that final playoff berth.
Lone Peak heads to the postseason as the Region 4 top seed, while American Fork has finished its season and sewed up the second seed. The Cavemen lost Brendan Bailey to a broken hand in Friday’s season finale, so they enter the playoffs without one of their best players.
After that, a lot is riding on Tuesday night action in this highly competitive league.
Pleasant Grove hosts Lehi Tuesday in a game with huge postseason implications. The two teams are presently tied for third place, so the winner of the game is locked into the region’s third seed. The losing team will anxiously await the result of the contest being played at Westlake.
The Thunder sit one game back in fifth place, so a win over Herriman on senior night will put Westlake into a play-in game for the final Region 4 playoff spot against the loser of the Lehi/PG battle. A Thunder loss means the loser of that game gets in clean as the No. 4 seed.
Woods Cross has clinched the Region 5 title and its tournament top seed, but after that, there is much to be decided Tuesday night.
East sits second in the league standings, and the Leopards are guaranteed a playoff spot, but they will need to await the end of the final night to know which seed they will hold. If East wins its home finale against Box Elder, it locks up the No. 2 seed. A loss drops the Leopards into at least a two-way tie with the Bees for No. 2.
If Box Elder beats East and Highland, currently tied with the Bees in third position, knocks off Bonneville, those three will finish in a three-way tie for second. Since all three would make the postseason, that would likely mean heads or tails to determine their final seeding order for the postseason.
If East wins, it gets the No. 2 spot, and Highland can take sole possession of No. 3 by winning its game. Box Elder would then look to Woods Cross to take care of business against Bountiful Tuesday to keep the Bees in the fourth spot. A Braves win in this scenario would create a fourth-place play-in game between Bountiful and the Bees.
A Box Elder loss, combined with a Highland loss and a Bountiful win would create another possible scenario, a three-way tie for third place. That would likely mean a three-way coin toss to place one of those teams in the No. 3 spot, with the other two heading to a play-in game.
Olympus and Murray are tied for the top spot with one game to play and they split the head-to-head series. An Olympus win at Skyline combined with a Murray victory over Kearns would create a coin-toss scenario to place the two front-runners in the No. 1 and No. 2 seed positions.
Losses by both teams would create the same coin toss. If either team wins while the other loses, the coin will be taken out of the mix and the seeds would be set.
Regardless of the outcome of its game against Murray, Kearns is set as the Region 6 No. 3 seed, while No. 4 is yet to be determined. The games to watch for that final playoff spot are that Olympus at Skyline contest and Hillcrest’s home game against Judge Memorial.
Skyline and Hillcrest are tied for the fourth position, so a win by one of those two combined with a loss by the other sends the winner to the tournament, while wins or losses by both would bring the play-in game into the picture for that No. 4 seed.
Timpview is in as the No. 1 seed and Corner Canyon as the No. 2. Those are the certainties. Two teams currently even in third place – Timpanogos and Orem – face off at Orem Tuesday night. The winner of that game is in as the No. 3 seed, but the loser has to look elsewhere for help.
The other game that comes into play is Mountain View at Provo. If the Bruins win, they will set up a play-in game for the fourth seed against the loser of Timpanogos at Orem. A Provo win eliminates Mountain View and sends both Orem and Timpanogos into the tournament.
The southernmost region in the 4A and 5A classifications could be one of the simplest or the most convoluted once Tuesday games are in the books.
Here’s what we know for certain – Maple Mountain has the final bye so the Golden Eagles’ season is over and they are the league champion and carry the No. 1 seed. Payson and Wasatch are both going to be playoff teams, but first they play each other Tuesday night in Heber City.
A Wasatch win puts the Wasps in the No. 2 seed, with the Lions No. 3. A Payson win creates a second-place tie between the two and a coin toss will set the order of seeding.
Then, the fun begins.
Salem Hills and Springville are currently tied for fourth, with Uintah and Spanish Fork both one game behind in a sixth-place tie. That means all four teams enter Tuesday night with a chance at the playoffs, as they all play each other. Salem Hills is at Uintah, while Spanish Fork hosts Springville.
Here are the possibilities:
1) wins by Salem Hills and Springville = a play-in game for the No. 4 seed between those two teams.
2) wins by Salem Hills and Spanish Fork = Salem Hills in as the No. 4 seed
3) wins by Springville and Uintah = Springville in as the No. 4 seed
4) wins by Uintah and Spanish Fork = CHAOS. This would create a four-way tie for fourth place. I am not sure of the Region 8 tiebreaker scenario in this case, but most regions require any tiebreaker that eliminates someone from the postseason entirely to take place on the court.