Wasatch boys remain undefeated, now 8-0
By Matt Harris
AMERICAN FORK—The Wasatch Academy boys’ basketball team had not been challenged by any other team in Utah for years, but a few teams found one secret weapon to make life difficult for the Tigers—a shot clock.
Or, rather, the lack of one.
The Tigers remained undefeated last week with four straight wins, three of them in the American Fork Elite 8 tournament in American Fork, but wins over Dixie, 75-62, American Fork, 53-51 and Timpview, 66-61, did not come easy as they found themselves playing in one of the few tournaments they participate in that does not mandate a 30-second shot clock.
“For [our players], I think it’s a bit different playing without a shot clock,” said Coach Paul Peterson, “and so they have to dig down and play defense a lot longer than usual, and I was proud of them for doing that.”
Prior to the tournament, the Tigers had posted a dominant 116-53 victory over Layton Christian Academy last Monday.
The Tigers knew no one in American Fork was backing down easily after the 4A defending champions took Wasatch all four quarters despite the Tigers taking the 13-point victory. Senior guard Nolan Hickman led with 15 points, while senior Fousseyni Traore scored 14 points. Senior Robbie Armbrester chipped in 13 points, and junior Richard Isaacs rounded it out with 12 points.
It wouldn’t have been expected that the hosts, the American Fork Cavemen, would present a challenge to the Tigers after Wasatch had beaten them, 90-58, in the first week of the season, but a slow-paced game turned into a close one. The game was tied going into the fourth quarter.
Traore led the scoring effort with 15 points, while Isaacs and Hickman scored 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Timpview was the team that made real waves, sporting a surprising lead over the Tiger at the end of the quarter and the first half. Fortunately, Isaacs came out with a tremendous game, scoring 22 points, including four 3-pointers. Senior Brennan Rigsby chipped in 11 points.
Wasatch now stands at 8-0 on the season, having played six straight in state games for the first time since going independent. They played Salem Hills at home last Tuesday and are playing Tooele on the road on Wednesday. They’ll be in Fort Wayne, Ind. this weekend for the Summit Challenge, a fairly new tournament, according to Peterson.