High school basketball: American Fork starts out fast and never looks back in 67-56 win over the Vikings
Coming into the game, American Fork was in third place in Region 4 with a 7-4 record. Three minutes into the game, the Cavemen were leading 6-5 against Pleasant Grove and from there, it was no looking back.
The Cavemen made the lead hold up through the end of the first period as a pesky Pleasant Grove team stayed within two or three points, but could not close the gap. Sophomore guard Braden Condie provided the spark midway through the opening period that enabled the Cavemen to build a 16-12 lead by the end of the period.
Four American Fork players combined for 13 points in the second period as the Cavemen maintained their four point advantage, 29-25. For Pleasant Grove, it was a one man show as Forrest Pincock added 13 points on his own to keep the game close.
American Fork head coach Doug Meacham said, "I liked our kids focus tonight. We took care of the ball and had fewer turnovers."
The third period was another defensive effort by both teams, but the Cavemen still managed to increase their lead by two points, 42-36, as they scored 13 points to Pleasant Grove's 11.
Pleasant Grove stage a comeback late in the fourth period as Pincock hit his sixth trey of the game to bring the Vikings within two at 50-48 with 3:39 left in the game. But two quick turnovers stymied the Viking rally. With time running down, Pleasant Grove was forced to foul to get the ball back. Through the final stretch American Fork senior forward Tyler Rawson hit seven of 10 free throws to put the game out of reach as the Cavemen cruised to the 67-56 win.
"Our plan was to guard that three-point shot and shut down their big men," Meacham said following the game. "Our boys did a great job of that tonight. When they (Pleasant Grove) were at our school, they couldn't miss, tonight, we turned it around on them."
Pleasant Grove's talented senior forward Matt Conway said, "We got outplayed tonight, they came out hard and played well. We didn't make adjustments as soon as we should have."
Pincock was the leading scorer for Pleasant Grove with 23 points. Conway added 12 points and senior forward Mark Sheffield added six points. American Fork was led by Rawson with a game-high 26 points. Condie and senior Taylor Larson each scored 11 points.
American Fork is now 8-4 in region and 15-8 overall. Pleasant Grove falls to 10-2 in region and 20-3 overall.
With the state tournament set to tipoff on March 4, coach Meacham said of Region 4's prospects, "If Lone Peak is hitting their shots, they could go all the way, but we all have the talent to do quite well also."
Kent Allen lives in Pleasant Grove and follows Pleasant Grove High School Varsity Sports for Deseret Connect.