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High School basketball: American Fork tops Pleasant Grove 64-55 behind Bailey's strong performance

By Sam Gillies

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 17 2016 9:00 a.m. MST

AMERICAN FORK — Just three short weeks after beating Pleasant Grove on the road, the Cavemen defeated the Vikings 64-55. Led by their two D-1 bound players, Brendan Bailey and Spencer Johnson

The Cavemen are now riding a five-game winning streak and will be looking to make a major splash in the upcoming state tournament.

The Vikings had an early lead when it was 5-4, but after Braden Condie made a hustle play and got it to Johnson who converted on a layup, the Cavemen never looked back and never trailed again. Benji Judd knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Cavemen a slim lead after the first quarter.

Pleasant Grove scored early in the second quarter and looked ready to go on a run. But then Dallin Hucks hit a corner 3 and all the momentum went back to American Fork. Then Bailey went on a tear, scoring 15 of his game-high 25 points in the second quarter. While Pleasant Grove couldn't stop Bailey, Matt McCarty was getting points of his own in the second quarter. McCarty had a huge block to end the first half and the Vikings had some momentum going into the third quarter trailing by only five.

American Fork got that momentum right back in the third quarter when Johnson hit back to back-to-back shots and game the Cavemen an eight-point lead. Pleasant Grove answered right back thanks to Brody Childs. Childs had a breakaway dunk and sank a deep 3. After a 7-0 run, the Vikings trailed only by one. But Johnson was not letting them back into the game as he drove baseline, stepped back and swished it right out of the timeout. Bailey then converted on a pair of free throws and the Cavemen led 38-33 going into the fourth quarter.

American Fork went on a scoring spree in the fourth, finishing with 26 points in the final quarter. Bailey dunked it on the opening play of the quarter and the Vikings could never fight back. Johnson hit back to back shots and the Cavemen led by 13. Whenever American Fork went on a run, Pleasant Grove came back with a run of its own, but ultimately came up short.

The game came down to free throws in the final minutes. The Cavemen were nearly perfect, going 15 of 16 in the fourth quarter. Childs led Pleasant Grove with 14 points. For American Fork, Johnson finished with 22 points and McCarty chipped in 11.

American Fork clinches second place in region while Pleasant Grove and Lehi are fighting for the third seed. American Fork (18-4), (8-3) hosts Lehi for Senior Night on Friday. Pleasant Grove (15-5), (6-4) travels to Lone Peak on Friday.

Sam is a junior at American Fork High School.