MORGAN - Wow!
That expression was the general consensus among those who attended Tuesday night's season opener between defending 3-A champion Morgan and defending 2-A champion Wasatch Academy, a private school out of Mount Pleasant.
Turns out that the hype surrounding Wasatch Academy is well-deserved. With a starting five consisting of a 6-foot-9 center, a 6-7 forward and three ridiculously athletic guards, the Tigers handed Morgan what will very possibly be its worst loss of the season - an 86-56 beatdown that left the Trojans shaking their heads.
"Athletic-wise, that's probably as good a team as well see," Morgan coach Jim Wiscombe said. "They've got size and they've got athleticism. They're a good team."
People in Morgan were talking about the Tigers' stable of Division I prospects well before they arrived in town and they didn't disappoint.
Senior Geno Luzcando scored a game-high 24 points and junior Cody John added 23 to lead the Tigers. The two guards also had the game's only dunks. Senior forward Alex Baptist scored 12 points, while sophomore guard Koby McEwen chipped in with 11.
The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 advantage and expanded the lead to 22-7 by the end of the first period. They led by 19 at halftime before opening the third quarter with seven straight points.
Morgan's chances of actually winning were pretty slim to begin with, especially considering the fact that two of their best players were dressed in street clothes nursing injuries. Matt Murdock and Bridger Streadbeck - both key performers in last season's championship run - may be back as early as next week, but the Trojans sure could have used them on Tuesday.
"We missed those two," Wiscombe said. "There's no doubt about that. We had two starters back from last year and they're both sitting on the bench. We didn't have a point guard (Murdock) - a guy that's quick and can handle all of that pressure. It just makes a huge difference."
Hunter Stanford scored 14 points to lead Morgan, while Jordan Nelson and Garren Miles added 10 points apiece. Miles will be among the Trojans' top scorers this season, but was saddled with four fouls before the second quarter was over.
So did anything go right for Morgan?
"Well, I got to look at a lot of players tonight," Wiscombe said. "A lot of those kids got a lot of minutes. They gave it a good try, but we've got a long ways to go."
The Trojans have another stiff test tonight at home when they face Logan, one of the top 4-A teams in the state. They follow that up with games against two of the top teams in 3-A, Desert Hills and Cedar.
"Our first four games are going to be darn tough games, every one of them," Wiscombe said. "We're gonna be alright. We've just got to get our kids healthy and then everybody's just got to step up and improve."