AMERICAN FORK — Lehi spoiled American Fork's senior night on Friday night in front of an all standing American Fork crowd.
The game started out slow. Neither team could get any points on the board until the 6:13 mark when David Rawson of American Fork dished the ball inside to a cutting Spencer Johnson. From that point on the ball was rolling for both teams. The game was tight in the first quarter. Brendan Bailey had six of American Fork's eight points, thanks to three offensive rebounds in the first quarter. For Lehi, the majority of the scoring in the opening period came from Ethan Tuckett. Tuckett had five of Lehi's eight first-quarter points. The score was tied after the first quarter.
Bad news came for the Cavemen when Marquette bound, Brendan Bailey had a chase down block at the beginning of the second quarter and he injured his hand. Bailey would not return. The teams continued to fight. Trading baskets and trading leads the whole second quarter. The Cavemen looked ready to take control of the game when Johnson nailed two free throws to take the lead and then nailed a pull up jumper, but Tanner Nygren erased the 3-point lead with a corner 3. The Cavemen gained momentum going into the half when Dallin Hucks made a corner 3-pointer just before the end of the half. Lehi had a one-point edge, 21-20.
Lehi went on a tear to start the second half, going on a 12-4 run behind Blaze Nield draining a pair of 3-pointers and Chase Berry also getting a pair of buckets. But basketball is a game of runs and the Cavemen went on a run of their own, going on a 9-1 run. Sophomore Zach McWhorter made a big difference filling in for Bailey. McWhorter scored on a putback layup and again while being double teamed. Johnson was also scoring, getting a pair of free throws and a fadeaway jump shot on the baseline after Hucks created the extra posession. Lehi held aone-point lead going into the fourth quarter after Tyson Rupp ended the half with a layup.
The Pioneers went on another run to start the fourth quarter and this time didn't look back. They started the final period on a 13-6 run Nygren scoring three straight buckets. American Fork fought hard but had no answer for him. Johnson had to keep forcing shots and they just weren't falling. The Cavemen ended up cutting Lehi's lead to four when Braden Condie heaved up a 3-pointer way beyond the arc, but it became a game of fouling and Lehi made eight free throws in the final minute. The Cavemen didn't have enough in them to win.
Lehi executed well and scored when they needed to, and that ended up being the difference in the game and one of the biggest reasons that they snapped the Cavemen's 5 game winning streak. Nygren led all scorers with 25 points, Johnson led AF with 21, Nield added 15 points to the win while Jake Whitehead chipped in 10 points for the Cavemen.
American Fork's (18-5) (8-4)(18-5, 8-4) regular season is over and they will be hoping to make a huge splash in the postseason ranked second in regionRegion 4. Lehi (14-8) (6-5)(14-8, 6-5) will finish their season in Pleasant Grove and currently sit in fourth in regionRegion 4.
Sam is a junior at American Fork High School.