by Daniel Olsen
High school football is long done and we are now in the thick of basketball season. We saw some dominant teams on the gridiron. Sky View, Corner Canyon and Beaver all had undefeated seasons while Orem and Juab had impressive state title runs as well. While these schools are the best at football, what schools are dominating the basketball court? Let’s look at some of the top teams so far in 4A.
Desert Hills is making it rain on teams
While the Arizona Wildcats football in the 1990s was nicknamed the Desert Swarm, the name Desert Storm might be more fitting for the Desert Hills Thunder. While their football team finished 5-7 with a second round exit in the state playoffs, their football team is something to behold. They are the only remaining unbeaten team (12-0) in 4A. They are located in the fast growing community in Saint George. They are a hidden gem in the southern part of Utah. It is time they get the notoriety they deserve.
The Thunder do their damage on the offensive end by averaging 71.2 points per game. They are led in scoring by Mason Landdeck who averages 22.6 of those points. While Landdeck has hoisted up a team high 90 three point shots, his 34 percent from team is a far cry from teammate Reggie Newby (44 percent). In fact, Newby has made just three fewer shots from downtown despite having 27 fewer attempts. Either way, these sharp-shooters are making it rain threes for the Storm in the desert of Southern Utah.
As long as this team continues to score at a high level, they should roll through region play and into the state playoffs. They have had a couple close calls but for the most part they have dominated in their wins.
While most of the contenders are actually in the Saint George area according to MaxPreps, there can only be one winner of Region 9 and that is Desert Hills. While it’s important to recognize how good teams like Crimson Cliffs and Dixie are, eventually they all have to play each other. It’s like being in the Western Conference in the NBA. Maybe your team is better than anyone from another geographical area but if you’re the third best in your own area it doesn’t matter in terms of being a legitimate contender. It might not be fair but that’s the way it is.
With that being said, the Logan High Grizzlies are the contender out of Region 11. Their rival, the Sky View Bobcats, only lost to Desert Hills by four points. Logan is 9-2 with their only losses being to teams from teams from Idaho. Those potato farmers may have turned the Grizzlies into tater tots but that means nothing in terms of in-state competition. Logan has beaten good teams from all around the state. They haven’t played a great team yet though. That will change when they play Sky View on Wednesday. They are also a Top 25 team in the state and one of the top teams in 4A.
The contender out of Region 10 would have to be Juan Diego. They are 10-2 on the season with their only losses being to bigger schools like Westlake and Timpanogos. That stiff competition should prepare them to make a deep postseason run. They are a top school with a rich tradition in athletics.
Sleeper Pick: Sky View
Could the Bobcats get the sweep and win a state title in football and hoops in the same school year? It is certainly possible. Although Logan High is ranked slightly better, all three of the Sky View losses were close ones to good teams. Besides the four point loss to top program Desert Hills, the Bobcats also lost by a point to Bonneville and an eight point loss to Madison (Idaho).
I still think the Grizzlies are better because they beat Bonneville but don’t count out Sky View. They are a physical team just like they are in football. If they are given freedom by the referees to play with their high level of tenacity, they could really make a run in the state playoffs.
Featured image via Chris Kwiecinski, The Spectrum ©