PROVO — It’s not often that small-school teams get to prove themselves against their counterparts from larger classifications.
That’s why Wasatch Academy, the top-ranked team in 2A, was itching to make the most of being invited to participate in the Tip Off Classic at Provo High this week.
The Tigers definitely haven’t disappointed.
Two nights after handing Desert Pines (Nev.) its first loss of the season with a stunning comeback, No. 18 Wasatch Academy played great defense and shot terrifically to stun No. 3 Weber of Class 5A for a wire-to-wire 70-59 victory in a matchup of undefeated teams.
“It’s really big. It’s a 5A school, ranked No. 3 in Utah. We came into this game ready to play. It’s very big for us,” said Wasatch Academy’s Cody John, who finished with 19 points.
The victory was the third straight for the Tigers, who also beat Westlake by double digits Thursday night.
“We talked about this whole tournament being a milestone for our program,” said coach Geno Morgan. “One thing I told the guys, 'we can’t be 0-4 and we can’t get blown out.' We’re 3-0 right now. The guys are pretty ecstatic about the win.”
John was one of four players who scored in double figures for the Tigers, with freshman Koby McEwen adding 18 and Geno Luzcando and Momo Diop chipping in with 13 each.
Wasatch Academy shot 55 percent, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range, but Morgan had a hunch his team was due. He said they’d been shooting under 25 percent the past four games.
Even though Wasatch Academy never trailed, Friday's game was tight throughout. In fact, when Weber’s Hayden Schenck hit a 3-pointer with 1:55 remaining, it cut the Tigers' lead to 59-56. The Warriors couldn’t get any closer though, and were forced to play the final 1:38 without Schenck after he picked up his fifth foul.
Wasatch Academy took advantage of Schenck’s absence with an 11-3 run to end the game.
Even though 5A’s leading scorer still racked up 25 points, Morgan was very pleased with the way his team defended him.
“We played them last year and he absolutely ate us alive. So I was extremely worried playing against him, but our guys stood up to the test today and we were able to come out with the victory,” said Morgan.
Offensively, Morgan was very pleased with how his team attacked Weber’s 1-3-1 zone. The Tigers were patient to get penetration, and then kicked it out for a lot of open looks on the perimeter. Friday night the shots were falling, which hadn’t been the case lately for Wasatch Academy.
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