Byline: Josh Loftin
Holding a one-point lead at the two-minute mark of Saturday’s game against Pace Academy of Atlanta, Wasatch Academy did something they hadn’t done all day.
They took a break. The trio of guards — Bryson Langdon, Cody John and Koby McEwan — pulled the ball to the halfcourt line and went into a 30-second stall. Pace players finally pulled out of their tight zone, and their pressure forced the Tigers into a turnover.
But as the Tigers did throughout the game, they focused on defense and stopped the Knights. Then, with under a minute, John scored on a gorgeous slashing drive and after a subsequent failed three-pointer by Pace Academy, the Tigers had won, 61-58. (Stats)
The Tigers take a number of positives from the win. For the first time this season, they played a full 32 minutes with their trademark gritty defense and hustle. Their leaders (John and McEwan) showed better command on the court, and their young players seem to be growing up quickly. They showed that even a poor shooting night — they were only 4-22 from three-point range, although they did shoot 50% overall — will not derail them. Finally, they proved they can match-up against teams with marquee players because Pace has sophomore phenom Wendell Carter (6’8″, #12 on ESPN’s Class of 2017 rankings).
Cody John led all scorers with 21 points. Jackson Rowe scored 14 points and 7 rebounds, while McEwan had 10 points and 6 rebounds.
The Tigers next travel to Las Vegas to defend their title in the Legacy Tip-Off Classic. They open the tournament Thursday night.