OGDEN — Trying to defend American Fork’s 6-foot-10 Ryan Andrus is a tough task for anybody, and that was no different for the Alta Hawks in Friday’s 5A semifinal.
Fortunately for the Hawks, they were as prepared as you can be.
In the first round, Alta had to deal with Bingham’s 7-footer Ben Morley, and then in the quarterfinals it had to bang Weber’s 6-foot-8 Jordan Jones in the paint.
“Our whole tournament we’ve been playing big guys and our focus has kind of been playing behind and try and just body them out,” said Alta’s Carter Heslop.
Heslop had the primary responsibility of defending Andrus, while teammate Landon Albrecht was primarily matched up against American Fork’s other big man Tyler Rawson.
Alta coach Jim Barker said the stockier Heslop and Albrecht both did a fantastic job digging in on the Cavemen down low. They had plenty of help defense as well whenever American Fork worked the ball into the post.
“Playing against Ryan and Tyler is always fun cause they’re so tall and it’s such a big challenge against them. So we just tried to be a lot more physical with them,” said Albrecht, who is teammates with Rawson and Albrecht on the Pump-N-Run AAU team.
Albrecht said the familiarity he had with the duo certainly helped.
Alta held Andrus to 14 points, five below his season average, on 5 of 15 shooting. Rawson managed to scored 12 points and also added 10 rebounds. Nothing came easy though for American Fork.
On Saturday, Heslop and Albrecht will face a bigger challenge in trying to stop Lone Peak 6-foot-10 center Eric Mika.