RICHFIELD — When Geno Morgan first pieced together this young, explosive Wasatch Academy team, he knew just how special it could be.
With the hope of bringing a state title back to Mount Pleasant, Morgan meticulously placed the right pieces together until one day something clicked.
Three years later, the Wasatch Academy Tigers have set a new precedent for all of 2A basketball as they sit atop the throne for the second straight year.
“You know, when you’re starting a new program, every day you think about how good you actually want to be,” Morgan said. “It takes time. It took us time — it took us three to five years — but now we’re here.”
The Region 15 champs knocked off the Enterprise Wolves, 76-47, Saturday night in the 2A championship game to pick up their second state title in as many seasons
Just like “The Six Million Dollar Man,” everything about Wasatch Academy is just better, faster and stronger.
Not to discredit the Wolves by any means, but the Tigers are just on an entirely different level than the rest of 2A.
The Tigers’ suffocating defense forced the Wolves into 15 first-half turnovers as they opened up a 19-4 run over the last seven minutes of the first quarter to take an early double-digit lead.
Wasatch Academy took that momentum and scored the first seven points of the second quarter to extend its advantage.
Enterprise wasn’t quite ready to throw in the towel just yet, however, as it finally found a rhythm to get its offense rolling.
The Wolves matched the Tigers shot for shot until the orange and black made another push with some big-time plays at the end of the half to take a commanding 21-point lead with just 16 minutes remaining in the 2014 season.
“Going into that third quarter, I said, ‘Listen, we’ve got to increase this lead because they are going to come after us,’ and we increased it by 11,” said Morgan. “So to be up by 30 going into the fourth quarter is a good situation for us.”
The Wolves gave everything they had in the second half, but fell short as the Tigers’ explosive and balanced offense was too just too much.
“I’ll tell you what, they came out (in the second half) and hit us in the mouth first punch,” Morgan added. “I knew they weren’t going to be scared. I told my guys, 'We’ve got a fight on our hands.'”
Wasatch Academy maintained its pressing defense and high-percentage shots as it continued to add to its lead in the second half to reclaim its throne atop all of 2A basketball with another stellar team performance.
Deseret News All-Tournament MVP Koby McEwen finished the night with 23 points, eight boards, three assists and two steals in another all-around strong performance for the Tigers. At the end of the day, Morgan was pleased with how all of his team played and was just happy his seniors could go out as champions.
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“Koby has been really consistent all tournament long,” Morgan said of his MVP. “The one thing about our team is that when somebody is down, somebody steps up and that’s how we’ve been winning all year long.”
Deseret News 2A All-Tournament Team
MVP: Koby McEwen, Wasatch Academy
Geno Luzcando, Wasatch Academy
Justin Prisbrey, Enterprise
Dillon Wilstead, Emery
Cody John, Wasatch Academy
Brad Richins, South Summit
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724