The first half of region games will wrap up by the end of next week for high school boys’ and girls’ basketball.
With the calendar moving to February after this week, what I like to call ‘moving month’ in the world of high school basketball will begin.
For some teams, like region leading Davis and Bountiful in boys’ basketball, February is the month to stake claim to the top spot in the region as the season works to the state playoffs.
For others, a simple turn of the calendar can spark a team that’s fallen behind the playoff race to make a push for one of the final playoff spots in 4A and 5A.
February is also a moving month, of sorts, in college basketball as well. The NCAA Tournament is the climax to an entire season filled with conference champions and 30-win teams, and conference tournaments are always fun to watch if a favorite team is in the running.
What I like most about this portion of the season is the excitement being built up as races continue to change. It also gives a fan ample opportunity to look at the entire state of Utah high school basketball and wonder who the top teams are, and how far they’re likely to go in the playoffs.
In 4A, the Bountiful Braves boys’ team are at the top of the heap, and is making region play look more like an exhibition than an actual battle for a region title.
It also helps the Braves to have two Division I college-bound players playing on the same team, something that hasn’t been seen at Bountiful in some time.
Not even its closest region rival this season, Highland, can figure out how to beat these guys. Last Friday the Rams were merely spectators as Bountiful blew past them with a 20-point victory to stay unbeaten in region play.
The Braves’ only loss this season came against a team from California.
On the girls’ side of things, the Lady Braves also seem to have control of Region 6 as well.
Behind a promising start to preseason play, both Davis and Viewmont looked poised to chase down Layton and Syracuse in what could have a been a tight race for the top spot in Region 1.
Both have slipped since, but are still in position to make a push for the final two playoff spots when the state tournament starts at the end of February.
Woods Cross is also showing it won’t be a pushover after finishing the preseason 0-6, the Lady Wildcats are right in the thick of a playoff spot in the 4A bracket.
You never quite know what you’re going to get once region games get underway, and that’s the beauty of this time of year.
While the college ranks will have their own tournaments to determine who gets into the 68-team NCAA Tournament in March, high school basketball allows for fans to cheer on their team in the hopes of making the final cut in the boys’ and girls’ brackets.
Plus, just like the college game, you never quite know who could upset whom once the playoffs begin.
February is going to be a fun month.