American Fork forward Tyler Rawson emerged from a victorious locker room and revealed in the dim light of the Huntsman Center tunnel the secret to his team’s entire strategy.
Get the ball inside. Plain and simple.
American Fork 72, Viewmont 42American Fork’s Tyler Rawson tallies 13 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and six assists.
» Cavemen outscore Vikings 40-18 in the paint.
» American Fork holds Viewmont to 23.6 percent shooting.
Not that such a revelation was much of a surprise. The Cavemen just had bullied Viewmont in the paint on both ends of the floor on their way to a 72-42 win in Tuesday’s first round of the Class 5A state tournament.
"That’s our gameplan — just pound it inside and go to the boards," said Rawson, who finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks and 6 assists. "The guards can take as many shots as they want because me and Ryan [Andrus] are going to clean up."
The Cavemen were quick to establish their dominance down low, with Rawson throwing down a two-handed dunk in the opening minutes. It was the first of several highlight slams and blocks for the Southern Utah commit, who came into the tournament trying to prove he is among the state’s elite players.
"I think he came out and played with a little chip on his shoulder," American Fork coach Doug Meacham said. "We know how valuable and how good he is to us and what kind of player he is to us. I think he helped us set a tone, not only offensively but defensively."
But it wasn’t just Rawson. BYU commit Ryan Andrus also was stellar, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds. The pair, Rawson referred to as the "twin towers," simply overmatched the Vikings, who scored just 18 points in the paint, compared to 40 for the Cavemen.
After the game Meacham thought back to earlier this season, when a fan in the seats bellowed a simple message to the Cavemen: Get the ball inside. They did Tuesday, earning a tournament victory as a reward.
"I wanted to put a microphone on [the fan], have him come into our locker room," Meacham said. "It’s been our key to win all year long. The ball has to go in to our bigs."
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.