AMERICAN FORK The Cavemen squared off against their mirror image in a fast and furious girls basketball game Thursday night. And eventually American Fork sealed its vengeance against the Davis Darts 56-50 in its third win of the season.
The two teams last met in the second round of the 5A state playoffs last season with the Darts eventually winning that one and advancing to the semifinals. But both teams were young and people knew these teams would both be forces this year.
And the two forces of nature made things interesting from the top as Davis ran out to the 13-5 lead, but American Fork coach Corey Clayton wasn't concerned.
"I knew if we could get some stops and start making shots we'd be OK. I wasn't too panicked because we were handling their pressure OK, but we weren't making the shots we usually make."
Then the Cavemen started making their shots, bringing themselves right back into it and taking the lead on a rebound putback by Kaycee Mansfield at 26-24 in the second quarter just after Amy Krommenhoek tied things up on a trey.
Mansfield finished with 25 in the game, taking charge from all over the court as she scored from both deep in the paint and from a distance with some soft jumpers. She also had nine rebounds in the contest.
"She seems to like to play Davis," Clayton said about one of his many stars. One of his other top players, Haley Holmstead, had a quiet game with only five points. But Clayton noted that he's not at all concerned as his players take turns bringing out the huge games.
"That first half was one of the best halfs of girls' basketball I've ever seen. This early in the season it was unbelievable. I thought we did a good job of handling their press in the first three and a half quarters," said an amazed Clayton, who noted that his team's inability to handle that same press last year in the playoffs was a huge part of the reason his team lost that one.
The Cavemen led 30-29 at the half, but it was the second half when they used some great defensive pressure to run out to a huge 52-40 lead.
"I was proud of the defense in the second half. We made them work for shots," added Clayton.
But when Davis came on strong in the final four minutes, he wasn't quite so thrilled with his team's free throw shooting. By missing seven in a row, the Cavemen allowed the Darts to sniff victory as they trimmed the lead to 52-48 with 30 seconds to go.
It was finally Mansfield who broke the bad streak from the line as she hit 1-of-2, and then Amy Krommenhoek sunk 3-of-4 to finish things off for American Fork in a wild finish.
Krommenhoek finished with 12 points and a pair of treys, and defensive specialist Nikki Ybarra added eight for the Cavemen.Kelsey Campbell led all Davis scorers with 18, including three from three point range. Alli Blake came on strong in the fourth quarter, when she picked up eight of her 13, and Dani Hosking finished with eight after picking up five in the first period.
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