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Prep boys’ basketball: Wasatch Academy hoping to put stamp on season

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(Keith Johnson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Morgan's Hunter Stanford (12) drives between Timpview's Riley Corbin (4) (left) and Timpview's Luke Sagers (12) during the finals of the Riverton Holiday Tournament in Riverton, Utah, December 31, 2013.

By Bubba Brown

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Feb 21 2014 10:25AM
Updated Feb 21, 2014 11:38PM

Wasatch Academy boys’ basketball coach Geno Morgan knows his team has a large round bull’s-eye on its back heading into the Class 2A state tournament.

Because that’s the way it goes when you beat teams the way the Tigers have this year while leaving little but scorched earth in their wake.

Morgan expects the other Class 2A teams to be gunning for the Tigers, who have laid claim to being among the best teams in the state, regardless of classification. But anything less than a state title would be a letdown for a squad that has accomplished so much.

"It would have to be," Morgan said. "With all the stuff in the paper and the noise that’s been made about us not belonging in 2A. We returned seven of our top 12 guys and [winning state] was a goal set for us."

Even so, Morgan knows anything can happen in the state tournament, which starts Saturday, and he’s preaching to his team that no opponents can be overlooked. Several teams, such as Merit, Layton Christian Academy and Enterprise, could make deep runs in the tournament, he said.

"The tournament is a whole different world, in my opinion," Morgan said. "You get there and you get teams that are desperate or are peaking at the right time. For us, it’s a game at a time, survive and advance.

"I think there’s about six or seven teams that could go deep and we can’t overlook anybody. I’ve been doing this long enough that we’re not gonna let that happen."

The Morgan Trojans stand out from the pack in Class 3A, whose tournament also begins Saturday. Defending state champions, the Trojans went undefeated in Region 10 and haven’t lost since the calendar flipped to 2014.

But the other top seeds, Grantsville, Snow Canyon and Payson, will make it difficult for the Trojans to navigate the 3A bracket. And a potential matchup against former region rival Bear River — which tied for the Region 11 title — looms in the quarterfinals.

Rich, Panguitch, Monticello and Wendover appear to be the favorites in the class 1A tournament, which starts March 5. The Rebels, Bobcats and Buckaroos all went undefeated in region play, while the Wildcats lost just once.

bbrown@sltrib.com

Twitter: @BubbaSLTrib

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