Wasatch Academy polishes off spotless season, ready for nationals if offered
Tigers have not lost an in-state game in the last three years
By Matt Harris
MOUNT PLEASANT— Wasatch Academy boy’s hoops finished their regular season with a reminder of just how much better they are than everyone else in Utah.
The Tigers closed out their regular season slate with dominating offensive performances, crushing Jordan, 106-78, and Kearns, 94-56. Both teams were ranked in Deseret News’ top 25, No. 14 and 15 respectively.
The Tigers ended the regular season with a 26-3 overall record, 9-0 against instate teams, and only one loss to a team outside of the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings. They have not lost an in-state game in over three years.
It didn’t take long for things to go Wasatch’s way when Jordan came to town. Despite the Beetdiggers’ impressive offense and shooting, the Tigers led by double digits after just one quarter and scored 32 points in the final period to put the Beetdiggers to bed.
Jordan could not contain the offensive explosion from home-grown Utah junior product Richie Saunders, who had a monster game of 36 points and six rebounds on 1317 shooting, 76 percent from the field, and a scorching 8-10 from beyond the arc. Seniors Tristan Enaruna and Tre Williams scored 18 and 13 points respectively, while junior Mike Saunders added 10 points.
When Kearns came to town, Wasatch was unable to dominate in what started as a battle for the paint. Neither team even attempted a 3-pointer until late in the first quarter. Kearns kept up with Wasatch on the pace of an impressive performance by their front court.
Naturally, it was only a matter of time before the magic ran out for the Cougars as the Tigers steamrolled Kearns through the rest of the game for the 38-point win.
Wasatch Academy benefitted from a far more even statistical performance than the night before as five different players scored in double figures. Enaruna led with 17 points while Richie contributed 15. Senior and future BYU Cougar Bernardo Da Silva chipped in 14 points while junior Mady Sissoko double-doubled with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Caleb Lohner finished with 11 points.
The 2A Independent Tigers now wait, as they do every year, to see if they have done enough to qualify for the eight-team bracket of the GEICO Nationals in New York. Wasatch Academy has made the Nationals two of the last three years, missing the cut last year while Lone Peak High School went.
On the Tigers’ resume this year are signature wins over Sunrise Christian Academy, KS, and Potter’s House Christian, Fla. They also went undefeated in five of the seven out-of-state tournaments they played this year and came within seconds of a victory over No. 1-ranked La Lumiere.
Wasatch would hope that the selection committee will look past their crushing defeats at the hands of Rancho Christian, Calif. and Vashon, Misso., tainting an otherwise historically impressive season. The Nationals will select their eight teams to participate at an undetermined date in March to prepare for the quarterfinals on April 6.