Amid region changes, Bengals look to return to state tournament
Dec 02, 2017 08:38AM
● By City Journals Staff
Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Last season, the Brighton boys basketball team was on the outside looking in when state tournament time rolled around. Playing in Region 3, arguably the toughest in the state, has that effect.
A change of venue may help this season.
With the addition of Class 6A, the Bengals will move to Region 7 and will stay in Class 5A. Of course, Brighton’s new league foes won’t be pushovers, and the team will still need to finish in the top four to qualify for the state tournament. Last season, the Bengals placed fifth in league play at 5-7, just one game behind West Jordan and Jordan for the final playoff spot. The Bengals went 11-12 overall, their first losing season since the 2013–14 campaign.
Brighton must replace its leading scorer from last season, guard Tate Weichers, who averaged more than 12 points per game. However, head coach Garrett Wilson welcomes back brother Cam and Luc Krystkowiak, sons of current University of Utah head basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak. Cam, now a 6-8 senior, scored 10.7 points per game last season, just behind Luc, a 6-3 junior, who was second on the team in scoring last season with 10.8. The two brothers also led the team by averaging just over five rebounds a game.
Senior guard Adam Christensen could take on a larger role this season. Last year he averaged 5.4 points per game and hit 17 three-pointers. He also averaged more than three rebounds per contest.
Brighton won’t see traditional state heavyweights Bingham, Copper Hills and West Jordan in region as they have in years past, though the Bengals will square off with West Jordan Dec. 12 in a non-region game.
Jordan moves with Brighton from Region 3 to Region 7. The Bengals will also compete with new region opponents Corner Canyon, Alta, Cottonwood and Timpview. Brighton and Alta are back together for the first time in three years. The longtime rivals face one another Jan. 26 and Feb. 16.
Brighton’s season gets underway Nov. 28 when the team hosts Riverton. Brighton tips off December with two more home games against a pair of Idaho teams, Hillcrest and Bonneville (not to be confused with the Utah high schools of the same names).
The Bengals will prepare for the crucial region portion of the schedule by participating in three preseason tournaments. First comes the Utah Elite 8, Dec. 7–9. The team will then play against Hunter in the Bear River Classic Dec. 12. The final tournament, the Under Armour Holiday Classic, takes place Dec. 27–30 in San Diego, California. Here, top teams from around the country will gather for the prestigious four-day tournament.
Region 7 action is set to begin Jan. 12 at Corner Canyon.
Last season was the first time since the 2005–06 season that Brighton boys basketball failed to qualify for the state tournament, so the team is itching to get back on track.