PLEASANT GROVE For about five seconds Friday night, the Pleasant Grove Vikings played horrible defense.
For the remainder of their 85-61 win over the Provo Bulldogs, however, the Vikings defense was about as good as it can get.
"That's the best defensive effort I've seen from this team in the past two years," Pleasant Grove coach Randy McAllister said.
Provo's Scott Edwards grabbed the opening tip and quickly fed Kyle Collinsworth for an easy layup to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead five seconds into the game. But after that, Provo didn't score again for the next six minutes. Throughout the game, the Bulldogs got very few good looks at the hoop.
"I think they're buying into the whole defensive concept, where last year they were all into scoring," McAllister said of his players' new mentality.
The Bulldogs finished the first quarter with three field goals and added only three more baskets in the second quarter. Through three quarters Provo had only scored
back-to-back hoops once. And it wasn't much better at the free-throw line, where the Bulldogs made only 13 of 27. Pleasant Grove's scrambling and aggressive defense made Provo look nothing like the team that beat Lone Peak a week earlier.
"You never know what's going to happen from game to game a lot of times. You hope what's going to happen, but you just don't know," McAllister said.
While Provo was having a tough time scoring, Pleasant Grove wasn't. Following that opening basket by Collinsworth the Vikings scored the next 16, led by a variety of slashers who repeatedly got to the basket or an in-close jumper.
The Vikings finished the first frame up 19-7. A 3-pointer from Provo's C. J. Thornton cut the lead to 21-10. (It was the closest the Bulldogs got the rest of the way.) Pleasant Grove then ran off the next eight points. A steal and layup by Brady Thurgood late in the half sent the Vikings into intermission leading 37-16.
Pleasant Grove's continual attack on the basket put Provo in foul trouble the entire second half. Eventually, four of Provo's starters fouled out. Center Brandon Davies was one of those, and because of foul problems he only played about five minutes through the first three quarters.
"Our kids were very good at (attacking the basket) and very smart at that," McAllister said.
The Vikings finished the third leading by 23. Midway through the fourth, a period that was mainly a parade to the free-throw line, the lead was widened to as many as 30 points.Pleasant Grove's LeSean Wilcox led all scorers with 24, with C. J. Wilcox chipping in 21. Thurgood finished with 12 and Craig Tucker 10 for the Vikings. Provo was led by Collinsworth's 16, with Thornton adding 11.
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