Prep basketball: Ogden seeking fresh start in 3A tournament
The Ogden boys basketball team is dangerous. The squad has been playing together for years, it boasts one of the best pure shooters in Class 3A in guard Spencer Smith, and senior Lyden Egbert is one of the better defensive forwards in the state.
Still, despite all their promise, the Tigers have had an up-and-down season and will enter the 3A playoffs with either a three or four seed out of Region 11. At 6-6 after two straight losses to end the year, Ogden is ready for a fresh start in the postseason.
"We're glad to get in the tournament and start the second season," coach Jace McKee said. "We're happy to have the opportunity to play and we're looking forward to finding out what we can do."
The team hopes the move to Class 3A will pay off in the playoffs. Ogden hasn't made it past the first round in more than a decade, but previous years were against much larger schools. The realignment has evened the playing field, and the Tigers feel they have the pieces in place to make noise.
"I think we still haven't reached our true potential, because our team is really talented," Egbert said. "Hopefully we can come together and play like we should."
Smith has been the catalyst when the team wins. The guard finished with 59 3-pointers, second most in 3A. Ogden started region play winning four of five, with Smith averaging 20.5 points per game. Since the hot start, the Tigers have cooled off, losing five of their last eight games, including a tough defeat against winless Grantsville in their final game. During that stretch, Smith averaged just 15 points per game.
"Spencer has a quick release and can get his shot off without a lot of space," McKee said, "but he helps our team in other ways when he's not shooting well. He leads the team in steals, he helps us on defense he's a real athletic, active kid."
McKee inherited a program that still has room to grow in Ogden. He was an assistant coach at Fremont, a program that has seen enormous success in Region 1, and his hope is to bring that level of success to the Tigers. Egbert believes that, come playoff time, the confidence McKee has instilled in the team will be the difference.
"He's meant a lot," Egbert said. "We work harder in practice and make practice as hard as we can. There's a lot of intensity right now. Our motto is to play hard, smart and together. If we do that we'll be able to accomplish anything."
About the Ogden Tigers
• Lyden Egbert is averaging more than 15 points per game this season. He played in every game last season, averaging less than six points last year.
• In a game earlier this season against Tooele, Spencer Smith scored a career-high 39 points and made nine 3-pointers.
• The Tigers are a small squad. Their tallest player is 6-foot-4, while three contributors on the team are below 6 feet.