By Randy Hollis
SALT LAKE CITY — Doug Meacham, the American Fork High School boys basketball coach, has been blessed to have a couple of multi-talented big men, 6-foot-10 senior center Ryan Andrus and 6-9 senior forward Tyler Rawson, at his disposal this season.
And nobody knows better than Meacham how vital those two “Twin Towers” have been to the success of the Cavemen’s program this season. Andrus is averaging 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season, while Rawson contributes 13 points, 8.1 rebounds and a team-leading 4.2 assists per game for an American Fork ballclub that clobbered Viewmont by 30 points, 72-42, in Tuesday’s opening round of the 5A state tournament to reach Thursday’s quarterfinals.
So Meacham was more than dumbfounded earlier this season when an American Fork fan started giving the Cavemen coach some unsolicited advice from the bleachers during a game.
“There was a fan in the stands at one game that was yelling ‘Throw the ball inside!’ ” Meacham recalled. “And I just wanted to put a microphone on him and just say, ‘Hey, have him come into our locker room’ because it’s been our key to winning all year long is the ball has to go into our bigs.
“They’re very good passers with each other. They kinda have a sixth sense of where each other’s gonna move, and I thought they did a great job today of finding each other.”
Indeed, Andrus scored a game-high 17 points on solid 8-of-13 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds, while Rawson added 13 points, pulled down a game-high 10 boards and contributed a game-high 6 assists, a game-high 6 blocks and, just for good measure, 2 steals to the Cavemen’s impressive victory over Viewmont.
Needless to say, Meacham knows where his team’s bread is buttered, and the Cavemen don’t need much help formulating their game plan. After all, it’s worked well enough to get them a 16-8 overall record entering the quarterfinals of the 5A tournament.
“We go inside-out and if their guards start sagging down on us then we can kick it out to our guards and they can start knocking down shots,” Rawson said. “That’s been our game plan the entire year.
“We’re pretty blessed. The ‘Twin Towers’ have always been at A.F. and it’s sad that we’ll be leaving after this season, but hopefully we can leave a great legacy there.”