COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — After getting run out of the gym last week at Lone Peak, Brighton entered Wednesday's home game against American Fork in desperate need of a win.
What the Bengals came away with was a 61-53 loss to another loaded team from Utah Valley, "Any time we can get a region win on the road, we'll take it," American Fork coach Doug Meacham said. "Good, bad, ugly, it doesn't matter. We're happy with the result."
In their usual fashion, the Cavemen spread the ball around the court, seemingly never in a hurry yet always getting results. Quincy Bair led American Fork with 15 points, including three 3-pointers and a one-handed dunk to open the game, while Austin Waddoups had 13 points and five assists.
Waddoups also made the biggest shot of the game.
American Fork built its lead to 16 points early in the fourth quarter before the Bengals went on an 11-2 run to pull within seven. Still patient on offense, the Cavemen dumped the ball to Nate Ensign on the left block. The 6-foot-9 center promptly kicked it back out to Waddoups, who was wide open in the corner after a screen by Danny Beddes.
The result was a momentum-changing 3-pointer that hit nothing but net and silenced the Brighton crowd.
"I think that was a huge moment," Waddoups said. "One thing we've been working on in practice is working inside-out. Nate's a great post player, and when they collapsed on him he dished it out to me. I just had to make the shot."
Corbin Miller once again led Brighton in scoring with 16 points, but he made only 4-of-14 shots and was more effective as a distributor late in the game.
Loi Masina came alive in the second half and finished with 10 points for the Bengals, while Zach Wertz provided a spark off the bench. Wertz hit two from long distance and bumped up Brighton's intensity on defense. The duo scored 16 of Brighton's 21 fourth-quarter points to lead the late charge.
Marcel Davis had five points and five assists for the Cavemen, but played a much larger role than the box score shows. He constantly found open space on the court, making the defense collapse then passing to open teammates. His play epitomized an American Fork team that assisted on 15 of its 21 baskets.
"We have some guys who, one-on-one, can do some things pretty well," Meacham said. "But it's when we share the ball that we really excel."
The Cavemen improved to 10-2 with the win and still haven't lost to a team from Utah this season — their only losses came to out-of-state teams at the Energy Classic in December. American Fork now has a showdown with top-ranked Lone Peak on Friday.
Brighton dropped to 8-4 and will next host Jordan on Wednesday.