AMERICAN FORK — Despite a third-quarter offensive freeze as frigid as the January night air, the Cavemen of American Fork thawed out in the fourth to put away the Pleasant Grove Vikings and seal their seventh consecutive victory Tuesday night, 54-33.
American Fork came out of the gate blistering the nets, working the ball down low to Cassidy Fraughton (13 points) and Amy Bergeson (12 points) while Jaylee Shepherd (12 points) connected on three attempts from downtown to put the Cavemen up 23-11 at the end of the first quarter.
“Cassidy obviously facilitates,” said head coach Corey Clayton. “The nice thing about her is that she can get herself shots, but you have to give her attention so she opens up shots (for teammates). When Jaylee starts shooting from out there, she can light it up.”
After falling down by 12 points at halftime, the Vikings ratcheted up the defense in an attempt to make a comeback. Pleasant Grove cut the lead to single digits entering the final stanza, but a balanced attack from the Cavemen was too much to overcome. American Fork outscored the Vikings 14-2 in the decisive period as it stepped on the accelerator and didn’t look back.
“We missed a bunch of shots in that third quarter that weren’t very good shots,” Clayton said. “I still want us to have that attack mentality, so I don’t want them to not shoot those shots. Then in the fourth quarter we hit those shots. So it’s funny how it seems like I’m a great coach when we hit shots and then I don’t know what I’m doing when we miss shots.”
The win sets the stage for Thursday night’s showdown between the cream of the 5A crop, as American Fork will travel to take on undefeated Bingham.
“We haven’t even thought about Thursday yet,” Clayton said. “In our region you can’t look past any team. We are excited for the opportunity. We’re just going to go and do what we do and Bingham is going to do what they do.
"It should be a really good game.”
American Fork improves to 15-2 overall on the season and 5-0 in region play. The loss for the Vikings snaps a three-game win streak, dropping their record to 7-9 overall and 3-2 in region. Pleasant Grove will take on Riverton at home Thursday night at 7 p.m. while the Caveman will tip at 7:15 p.m. on the road at Bingham.
American Fork Scoring
Bryanna Adams 10 pts
Cassidy Fraughton 13 pts 2 — 3s
Molly Boughton 2 pts
Jaylee Shepherd 11 pts 3 — 3s
Megan Eliason 2 pts
Amy Bergeson 12 pts
Pleasant Grove Scoring
Alyssa Crab 2 pts
Megan Wilde 6 pts
Hailey Albrecht 2 pts
Lilly Evans 4 pts
MeKenna Miles 8 pts 2 — 3s
Alexus Sharp 2 pts
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company