Local teams bow out early in state boys basketball tournamentMar 06, 2023 10:25AM ● By Josh McFadden
Game Over: Woods Cross’ Alex Grey (25) has a tough time grasping the Cat's No. 3 Seed loss to Orem’s No. 14 Seed. Photos Roger V. Tuttle
While the Davis boys basketball team was one missed shot away from the Class 6A semifinals, other Davis County teams struggled with early exists in the postseason. Woods Cross, Viewmont and Bountiful each lost their opening games at state, ending their seasons. Farmington made it to round two but could advance no further.
Of all the local teams, it appeared as though Woods Cross had the best shot of making a deep playoff run. After all, the Wildcats were seeded third and got a first-round bye after winning Region 5 with a 9-1 mark. Overall, the Wildcats were 18-4 during the regular season.
But an upstart Orem team didn’t seem to notice Woods Cross’ success during the year.
In the second round of the Class 5A state tournament on Feb. 24, Woods Cross fell at home to Orem 56-47 in a low-scoring affair. The key period of the game with the second quarter where Orem outscored the Wildcats 12-4. Woods Cross also made five fewer field goals than Orem and made four three-pointers to the Tigers’ seven shots from long range. Jaxon Smith was the leading scorer in the game, as the Wildcat star had 17 points. Mason Bendinger had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists.
Woods Cross’ 18-5 record was its best since 2019–20 when they finished 19-6 overall.
The Vikings entered the 5A playoffs with the No. 22 seed after going 9-14 during the regular season. Viewmont faced 11th-seeded Box Elder, a team the Vikings had defeated 63-57 just five days before the Feb. 22 tournament matchup.
This time, with the stakes much higher, Viewmont fell short in a 59-56 loss.
Scott Noel posted the best individual performance of the game, leading all players with 18 points. He also had 11 rebounds, part of a 32-rebound effort for Viewmont. Mitch Jeppesen also had a double-double, accumulating 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Vikings even fought back from a 29-19 halftime deficit to pull within 45-42 after three quarters. But Box Elder held on to end the Vikings’ season.
Viewmont finished the 2022–23 campaign with a 9-15 mark.
The Redhawks faced Juan Diego in the first round of the tournament on Feb. 22. With a spot as the No. 20 seed, Bountiful nearly pulled off the upset to advance but came up just short in a 50-49 loss.
This contest was a rematch of a Feb. 1 game that Bountiful won 62-57 at home. This time, Juan Diego got the home-court advantage and used it to prevail in the close, low-scoring game.
A furious Redhawks’ rally in the fourth quarter made the game interested late. Bountiful was down 42-31 after three quarters but outscored the Soaring Eagle 18-8 in the final six minutes. It wasn’t quite enough to win, however, as the Redhawks season ended with a 9-14 record. Danny Holland was the leading scorer for Bountiful, putting up 16 points. Carson Smith and Sam Stevenson added 15 points and nine points, respectively.
In Class 6A, Farmington started off on a strong note and then lost a close game to end its run in the tournament.
Garnering the 10th seed, Farmington routed 23rd-seeded West 72-51 on Feb. 22 in the first round. This game got out of hand early when the Phoenix got off to a 21-4 advantage after the first quarter. That lead swelled to 39-14 at halftime. After three quarters, the game was well in hand with the Phoenix in control by 34 points, 50-26. In the final six minutes of the game, West outscored Farmington 25-12, as many Phoenix reserves saw action. In fact, 12 Farmington players got in the scoring column.
Paul Beattie led the way with 17 points, and Braden Larsen had 14 points. Farmington made seven three-pointers and had 29 field goals in all.
Two days later, the Phoenix had a second-round date with seventh-seeded Syracuse. Farmington went 1-1 against the Titans during the regular season, having beaten them 64-59 on Jan. 17 and lost 60-55 on Feb. 10. In this playoff matchup, a berth in the quarterfinals was on the line.
After battling through three quarters, Farmington was down 41-40. Syracuse outscored the Phoenix 22-20 in the final quarter to prevail 63-60. Farmington’s Cole Johnson had 19 points to lead the team. Beattie contributed 18 points.
With the loss, Farmington’s season came to a halt. The Phoenix had an overall record of 15-9.