PLEASANT GROVE — The Pleasant Grove Vikings closed their preseason on a successful note.
Sophomore guard Riley Court led his team offensively with 21 points, and the Vikes beat Hunter 68-60 Wednesday night in what was their final nonregion game.
Afterward, Pleasant Grove Randy McAllister was pleased with his team's performance.
"After the Christmas break, the Palm Desert Tournament in California and eight practices, we were looking for 32 minutes of consistent, good basketball out of our boys. I think we saw that," said McAllister, whose team moved to 10-3. "The next step is to get 32 minutes of efficient play."
After winning the opening tipoff Wednesday, the Vikings just couldn't get their shots to drop early and were not as quick getting back on defense. Accordingly, Hunter led by eight points midway through the first period before McAllister called timeout. Pleasant Grove regrouped and managed to end the first quarter down by a single point, 17-16.
The second quarter proved to be the highest scoring quarter of the game as the Vikings scored 20 points compared to the Wolverine's 17, putting Pleasant Grove up by a pair of points at halftime.
Coming back from the halftime break, the Vikings tightened up their defense and held Hunter to only seven points in the third period. In the final period, the Vikings kept their lead and could have scored six more points if they would have hit all their free-throw opportunities. The Vikings held on, though, against a strong Hunter team that would not go away.
Sharing the high point total for all scorers with Court was another sophomore guard, Hunter's Noah Togiai. He also had 21 points.
Matt Conway, a Viking junior forward, scored 11 points and Mark Sheffield, another junior forward, added nine points. Willie Petersen scored 13 and Brandon Davies scored eight points in support of Togiai.
The Vikings hit 24 field goals, two of them treys, and went 14 of 27 from the free-throw line. The Wolverines hit 18 field goals, four of them treys, and went 12 of 20 from the free-throw line.
Pleasant Grove begins Region 4 play Friday at Bingham. Meanwhile, 4-9 Hunter begins Region 2 play Friday at home against Kearns.
"We need to improve our shooting from the foul line and be more efficient with our offense," said McAllister. "We need to get serious now because region starts."
Kent Allen lives in Pleasant Grove and covers the Pleasant Grove High School Vikings varsity sports for Deseret Connect.