Richfield • The Wasatch Academy Tigers packed in tight underneath the netless hoop. They rose the trophy high over their heads, the scoreboard in the background still telling the story of their dominance.
The scoreboard read this in bright lights after 32 minutes Friday night: Wasatch Academy 76, Enterprise 47. The most ascendant team in Class 2A Utah basketball history had crossed its final hurdle. The crown jewel of the Tigers’ season, a second straight state title, finally was theirs.
Wasatch Academy 76, Enterprise 47
O Wasatch Academy caps its dominant season with the Class 2A state title.
» Koby McEwen and Cody John combine for 41 points for the Tigers.
Maybe the Tigers’ run to the state title was inevitable. They crushed every Class 2A team they faced during the regular season, often by 50 or 60 points, and became one of the biggest stories of the Utah prep basketball season.
But perhaps whether or not a title was a foregone conclusion was irrelevant.
"Of course it’s still satisfying," said guard Cody John, who had 20 points in the win. "Because we’ve been working hard all year for this. This is what counts. This is the state championship. We are satisfied."
The Tigers were quick to claim what they had come for Friday. A relentless press defense and fast-paced offense earned them a 21-point halftime lead.
Though the Tigers had entered the tournament — and the championship game — as heavy favorites, they still felt threatened. Threatened by the other teams, yes. But also by a legacy that would go unfulfilled if they didn’t accomplish their final goal.
"Task at hand," said Koby McEwen, who led the Tigers with 21 points. "You still have a goal — that we have to win. If there’s no championship it’s a bust. So we went hard every day. We reminded each other what we wanted."
The postgame celebration was subdued. There were hugs and there was a trophy celebration, but no players exploded off the bench, breathless at the final whistle. The Tigers expected nothing less, even in the early days of the season, before their dominance of Class 2A was so certain.
Because to get where the Tigers hope to go — they are exploring the option of leaving Class 2A for independence next year, allowing them to chase aspirations of becoming a national brand — capturing another title was a necessary step.
"We started from the bottom," John said. "We’re working our way to the top and we’re going to stay there."
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