Byline: Josh Loftin
Despite losing their first game in the Holiday Hoopsgiving tournament, the Wasatch Academy boys basketball team showed significant improvement — and definitely just more life — over their season opener.
Outside of the final four minutes of the first half, the Tigers held their own against the Cougars of High Point Christian Academy. They actually led much of the first half, and they outscored HPCA 24–9 in the third quarter.
The teams traded baskets for much of the fourth quarter, before solid free throw shooting by the Cougars secured the 66–62 victory. (Stats)
But it was really that stretch in the second quarter, during which the Cougars went on 10–0 run and entered halftime with a double-digit lead, would prove the difference maker in the game. Not only did the HPCA shooters get hot, the Tigers seemed to hit a wall physically and mentally.
A frustrated Coach Geno Morgan obviously said the right things during halftime, however, as the Tigers came out and dominated the third quarter. Most importantly, the two leaders for Wasatch Academy — senior Cody John and junior Koby McEwan — played exponentially better than the previous six quarters of the season. John, in fact, scored 10 straight points during a flurry that regained the lead for the Tigers.
This game showed a lot about the Tigers. Foremost, they proved they could stand-up against a top-flight team (HPCA, although winless entering the game, has already faced two of the best programs in the country, Oak Hill and Huntington Prep). They also showed that when their defense shines, they thrive, which is a hallmark of Coach Morgan’s philosophy.
On Saturday the Tigers face Pace Academy, an Atlanta-based school that features 6’8″ Wendell Carter. The sophomore is ranked 12th in the country by ESPN for the class of 2017. The game is at 2:45 p.m. Eastern time.
All games for the boys basketball team will be streamed live on High School Cube. You can watch the games online or download the High School Cube app. Apologies to those who watched Friday’s game: The shaky video happened because the tripod used for the iPad that streams the video snapped. The issue will be fixed for Saturday’s game.