6A/5A girls basketball tournament preview: Games and players to watch

Sunday , February 18, 2018 - 5:00 AM

The 6A/5A girls state basketball tournament begins Monday and Tuesday, with all games at Salt Lake Community College. There’s a handful of area teams that have a solid chance at lifting the trophy on Saturday.

Here’s a look at all eight games involving area schools. The 5A tournament starts Monday at 9:30 a.m. and the 6A tournament starts Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

6A: (1) Fremont vs. (4) Hunter (11:10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20)

After a season in which Fremont (19-2) romped undefeated through Region 1, the Silver Wolves enter the 6A state tournament as one of the favorites with Copper Hills.

Freshman post Emma Calvert leads Fremont with 16.7 points per game, and senior guard Abby Broadbent averages 12 per game. The last time the Silver Wolves lost? Dec. 8 against Viewmont, one of the favorites in 5A.

Fremont will face Hunter (8-14), which beat Granger in a play-in game on Saturday.

5A: (1) Roy vs. (4) Springville (12:50 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19)

Utah Valley-bound senior Josie Williams has put together a career season so far (25.8 points, 11.2 rebounds per game), but senior guard Brittney Hatch is starting to heat up, as well.

Hatch has scored exactly 18 points with four rebounds the past two games and shot a combined 14-of-25 from the field. The Royals (15-5) face Springville, which beat Maple Mountain in the final regular-season game to book a ticket to the playoffs.

6A: (2) Layton vs. (3) Kearns (9:10 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20

Layton (14-6) comes in having lost their last two games by 17 and 20 points. The Lancers have an experienced coach, Van Price, who’s led them to state titles before, as well as a solid experienced team led by Kaitlyn Viator (10.4 ppg) and Brenda Gallegos (10.3 ppg).

Whenever Layton has lost this year, a three-plus-game winning streak has followed. Kearns (6-15) has lost five of the last six games.

5A: (2) Viewmont vs. (3) Provo (4:10 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19)

This may be the best first-round matchup, pitting the Region 5 co-champ Viewmont (16-3) against Provo (12-8), one of Region 8’s three co-champions.

It won’t lack for star power. The Vikings are led by Clemson-bound senior guard Mercedes Staples, averaging 22.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game.

Provo junior guard/forward Lavender Briggs averages 25.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.4 steals per game.

6A: (3) Northridge vs. (2) Cyprus (4:10 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20)

Northridge completed the best regular season in school history with a 15-5 record and finished third in Region 1 at 7-5. Since the school opened, the Knights have won one playoff game, which came in 1997.

The Knights average 8.7 steals per game and are 8-3 in games decided by 10 or less points. Cyprus (7-12) rebounded from a tough start in non-region to finish tied for second in Region 2 at 5-7.

5A: (3) Woods Cross vs. (2) Wasatch (9:10 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19)

Woods Cross (14-7) and Wasatch enter the tournament riding high. The Wasps (16-6) won their last five games to force a three-way split for the Region 8 crown.

The Wildcats won their last two games, both coming against the Region 5 co-champions Roy and Viewmont. Both teams are athletic and like to press on defense.

Sara Noel (16.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 3.6 steals) and Olivia Barton (13.4 points, 6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 4.4 steals) are just two Woods Cross seniors fueling a defense that averages 12.2 steals per game.

6A: (4) Clearfield vs. (1) Hillcrest (12:50 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20)

Clearfield (11-10) had to beat second-seeded Layton on the road and beat Davis in a play-in game just to get to the playoffs. Haylie Anderson leads the Falcons with 17.2 points per game.

Hillcrest (16-4) went unbeaten in Region 2 and the Huskies tout an experienced lineup with six seniors. The two schools played each other in December at Hillcrest where the Huskies won 56-43.

5A: (4) Box Elder vs. (1) Skyridge (11:10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 19)

This will be the first matchup between Box Elder (11-11) and Skyridge (16-6), which opened in 2016. The Bees started Region 5 play 0-4 but finished by winning three of their last four games.

Box Elder junior Emily Isaacson averages 17.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, all team-highs.

Skyridge split the Region 8 title three ways with Wasatch and Provo. Junior Marisa Bowman leads the team with 14.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game; four of the Falcons’ top six leading scorers are either freshmen or sophomores.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickcarr_ or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/patrickcarr17.

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