Formerly flawless Wasatch team goes 1-2 in Florida
By Matt Harris
MONTVERDE, FLA—Playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, it may not have been realistic to expect the Wasatch Academy boys’ basketball team to stay undefeated for much longer.
It may have been realistic, however, to expect that this year’s squad wouldn’t get completely embarrassed at any point in the season.
The word “expect” can be such a catalyst for disappointment.
The Tigers’ historic season hit a monumental snag last week at the prestigious Montverde Invitational as Wasatch went 1-2 in the tournament with crushing defeats against No. 19 Rancho Christian, Calif., 74-47, and unranked Vashon, Missouri, 70-58. The only glimmer in a cloudy outlook was the Tigers’ opening 85-65 tournament win against The Villages Charter, Fla.
Against The Villages, Wasatch spread out the court as junior Mady Sissoko dominated the post with 19 points and 13 boards, while junior Mike Saunders scored 16 points with nine assists. Seniors Tre Williams and Tristan Enaruna and junior Leonardo Colimiero each scored in double figures as well with 15, 14, and 10 points, respectively.
Rancho Christian dominated the Tigers from wire to wire as the typically potent Wasatch Academy offense couldn’t buy a bucket all game long. Utah native Richie Saunders led the Tigers in scoring with 12 point while Enaruna chipped in 10, but overall, Wasatch Academy shot 29 percent from the field.
Vashon proved to be a tougher test than they should have been as they feasted on the Tigers a day removed from their first loss of the season. Wasatch Academy held a four-point lead after the first quarter, but their lead evaporated quickly, replaced by a deficit that grew with each quarter as the Wolverines handed the Tigers an unexpected second straight loss.
Even in a losing effort where Wasatch Academy, once again, could not figure out how to shoot, Sissoko counterbalanced the Tigers 39 percent shooting performance with a monster day in the post to the tune of 24 points and 18 rebounds, including 13 offensive boards.
After being ranked in the top 10 of the Maxpreps Xcellent 25 nearly all season, the Tigers fell completely out of the rankings last Monday in the new poll. However, USA Today only dropped the Tigers from No. 4 to No. 12.
Wasatch Academy will have a short bit of needed time to regroup and take on a struggling 4-12 squad from Mercersburg, Pa., this Thursday at the start of the also-prestigious Bob Kirk Invitational. And then, ready or not, they will continue the Invitational with a matchup against No. 1 La Lumiere, Ind., on Friday. Their Saturday game of the tournament is TBA.