Small-town Basketball Team Going To National Tourney In New York City

Mar 21, 2019, 8:40 PM

MT. PLEASANT, Utah — In a restored gymnasium, and a student body of just 340, Wasatch Academy, a private school located in Mt. Pleasant, is taking their small town team to the Big Apple the first week of April.

“We have been working this season for this goal, we have a good chance to win so I am excited for this,” said Bernardo Da Silva, a student from Brazil.

The Geico Nationals is an invitational tournament, with the top elite basketball squads invited to challenge each other for the top spot in the country. Jaxon Kohler is one of the few Utah players on the team.

“Pretty special to hear that, a little team from Mt. Pleasant, is going to Geico, one out of eight teams in the country, I am excited,” Kohler said.

“It is a big accomplishment for our boys because we don’t play in the state tournament,” said head coach David Evans.

He says his team, which includes players from several countries and states across the U.S. will get national exposure, especially to college scouts.

“It is going to be a great tournament, there’s top players, a lot of them will play in the NBA eventually,” Evans added.

Several players at Wasatch Academy already have college commitments, but it is how they play as a team that the coaching staff credits for their success.

“They play really hard and they play the right way — they share the ball, no one runs the team and they do it as a group and that is why they deserve to be there,” said associate head coach Paul Peterson.

The team has already competed against other high schools from across the country, earning a record of 26-3, they know they have a lot to be proud of by just being in this end-of-season tournament.

“We got one more week of practice, and we got to do what we got to do to get ready for the big tournament coming up, I’m excited,” said Mady Sissiko, a student from the African nation of Mali.

The Wasatch Academy Tigers will keep practicing until it is time for their tournament, which begins on April 4th in New York City.

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Small-town Basketball Team Going To National Tourney In New York City