PLEASANT GROVE — Lehi came up short on the scoreboard Friday night, 70-61, but the Pioneers may have discovered a talented future star in the making. Freshman guard Frank Jackson played an outstanding game and came on strong in the fourth period, scoring 12 points in the fourth to finish with a game-high 27 points.
"That little freshman is going to be a handful to guard during the next few seasons," said Pleasant Grove coach Randy McAllister.
Lehi head coach Bob Barnes agreed, adding: "Jackson is very poised for such a young player and he is much improved."
Fans in the stands were also impressed with how well he played.
Lehi had the lead, 16-12, at the end of the opening period of Friday's game, but the Vikings pulled ahead by three at the half, 32-29.
By the end of the third, Pleasant Grove had stretched its lead to five points, 47-42. The final period, when Jackson scored his last 12 points, Lehi started to foul the Vikings, sending them to the foul line for 14 shots. The Vikings hit 10 of them, sending the final score to 70-61.
"Getting wins in Region 4 is tough to do," said McAllister. "Every game is a dogfight. Our kids came out well and did a great job of defense and offense. Lehi is a much better team than their record indicates. If they played in Region 2, they'd be on top, but in our region, it's just tough. We needed to get back into the hunt and this win put us back in the right direction."
Viking junior forward Matt Conway led the Vikings with 23 points with 11-of-11 shooting from the foul line. Sophomore guard Riley Court added 17 points and juniors Forrest Pincock and Mark Sheffield contributed nine apiece. Jackson led all scorers with 27. Senior guard Blake Cleveringa scored 10 points. And junior forward Chris Macula added eight points.
The Pioneers hit three treys, 21 field goals and went 10 of 13 from the charity stripe. Their last two games will be at home; playing Lone Peak on Feb. 15 and Riverton on Feb. 19.
The Vikings hit two treys, 19 field goals and scored 26 points from the charity stripe. They will play their final home game of the regular season on Feb. 15 against Riverton and then hit the road to play neighboring American Fork on Feb. 19. With the win, Pleasant Grove improved to 4-4 in Region 4 and 14-7 overall.
Kent Allen lives in Pleasant Grove and reports on Pleasant Grove High School varsity sports for Deseret Connect.