This is the third of a three part series of top guards, forwards and centers in Region 9 boys basketball.
ST. GEORGE – Wrapping up the previews of the top players at each position, here is a glance at the top centers on each team in the region.
The Warriors don’t return any prominent big men from last year’s squad, but those that are back are proving already that they can score. Junior Nate Gottfredson is averaging nearly 15 points and 6 rebounds per game and coach James Brown said he expects him to continue to dominate the post both offensively and defensively.
Brown also said to look for junior Cameron Densley to contribute after a productive offseason. Densley is expected to crash the boards and provide solid defense in the paint.
Like Snow Canyon, the Redmen don’t have any veterans down low. Senior Brock Englestead will help from the forward position, but coach Craig Cardon said if the Redmen are to be successful this year, junior Dustin Staggs will be a big piece of the puzzle.
Cardon said Staggs is still learning the game and what he is capable of, but if the first four games are any indication he is on the verge of a monster year. Staggs recorded a double-double in the first game of the season and is averaging 12 points and seven rebounds per game.
With most of the scoring coming from the guards and forwards in the preseason, the Flyers will have to rely on their bigs to take some pressure off the scorers. Coach Ryan Cuff said senior Chris Abraham would be a key player for Dixie in the paint this year and perhaps there is an explanation for the Flyers dropping three of four of their tune-up games.
Abraham has averaged only two points per game, the most of any center on the roster. However, the season is still young and the start of the region season gives team a fresh start. Look for the Flyers to be a team that makes the most of the fresh start.
The Falcons’ first choice is not to score in the post. But not because they wouldn’t like to, they just don’t have many options there. Coach Rob Potter said they have only one true center on the varsity roster this year, senior Clayton Brush.
Brush has been relatively quiet through eight games, averaging just about two points per game. However, Cardon said he is getting better every day and should be solid on defense and on the glass.
The tallest player on the Pine View roster this year is sophomore Kody Wilstead and after a successful season on the gridiron, Wilstead is showing he is more than capable on the hardwood also. Wilstead is averaging a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds per game through the first four games.
Junior Collin Dowdell is also off to a good start with six points and three rebounds per game, but it’s safe to assume teams will give Wilstead the most attention down low.
When the ball goes down low for the Thunder, it’s going to senior Josh Anderson more times than not. And although Anderson isn’t the tallest player at his position, coach Wade Turley said his weight helps him play much bigger. Anderson is averaging close to a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds per game.
Turley also said to look for junior Trey Tanner to help out down low, especially as an intimidating shot blocker on defense. Tanner has contributed six points per game through four games.
The Tigers are learning a hard, yet simple lesson this year. It’s hard to score inside without a lot of big guys. Junior Jordan Ence is the tallest player on the team this year and some guards are taller than he is. Ence is contributing three points per game, but coach Brian Vaifanua said he brings a lot to the table in terms of physicality.
With the lack of bigs, the Tigers will play more of inside-out style on offense this year.
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