Hot forward helps Tigers beat 5A schools

Hot forward helps Tigers beat 5A schools
Vrankic averages 27 points against Lone Peak, Timpview


Matt Harris

Staff writer




MT. PLEASANT—The Wasatch Academy Tigers may very well be in possession of a monster, and his name is Josip Vrankic.

The senior forward took over on offense during the FreetaxUSA.com Shootout at BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse in Orem. Wasatch went 3-0 at the Shootout, posting wins over Lone Peak, Wakefield, Va., and Timpview, with Vrankic averaging 27 points per game.

Lone Peak came to Mt. Pleasant as a common hurdle the Tigers had tripped over in the past, and crowds showed in volumes to see the possibility of an upset.

Lone Peak, undefeated coming into the match and ranked No. 2 in Utah. In a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, Wasatch pulled away in the fourth to seal a victory in Utah’s game of the week, 71-57.

Senior Damion Squire led all scorers with 19 points, with junior Emmanuel Akot netting 17, Zion Young with 14, and Vrankic with 13.

“It’s a statement game for our program,” head coach Curtis Condie said. “People think we’re just this little podunk school in Mt. Pleasant, but we beat a really good team tonight.”

Wasatch proved themselves to be one of few programs in the state that could handle all the Knights can give. Lone Peak, commonly known for their impressive accuracy from three-point range, went cold from the second quarter onward.

“Our length bothered them,” Condie said. “They’re not used to shooting over that. In the end, it was the rebounding that did it for us. We stopped giving up offensive rebounds.”

The success didn’t stop there. Wasatch proceeded with wins against Wakefield, 75-64, and Timpview, 97-76.

Against Wakefield, Vrankic exploded for 39 points, the highest output of Wasatch’s season, to make up over half of the Tigers offensive. Akot chipped in 13 as well, and an early deficit turned into a win.

Against Timpview, the Tigers returned to their normal, dominating ways, beating them by 21 and outscoring the Thunderbirds in every quarter. Vrankic continued to feed off the previous night’s fuel en route to a 29-point performance. Vrankic got help from 19 and 18-point performances from Akot and Squire, respectively.

Wasatch now boasts a 9-2 record as well as a five-game winning streak. They played Layton last Tuesday (score unavailable) and will be traveling to San Fernando, Calif., to play in the San Fernando invite from Saturday, Dec. 17, to Wednesday, Dec. 21.