AMERICAN FORK The Timpanogos boys basketball team figured that it beat American Fork at its own game in its 68-50 win on Friday night.
The Timberwolves coaching staff had scouted the Cavemen enough to know they would play physical, rough basketball, and the key to beating them would be playing through it and maintaining composure.
The game was indeed rough, physical and heated. But, it was American Fork that ended up losing its composure down the stretch while Timpanogos went on to pick up the important region win.
Skylar Halford and Colton Willman filled their usual scoring roles, combining for 44 of the T-Wolves' points, while a mostly cool-headed defensive performance gradually frustrated the Cavemen.
"We knew coming in that it would be physical," said Timpanogos coach Clay Anderson. "These kids from American Fork are very physical and they're good basketball players. Their game plan is to get physical with you and get inside your head. I thought we did a real good job of keeping our composure, except for one shot there."
The "shot" Anderson referred to was one sequence in the fourth quarter where Scott McAllister was dragged down on a hard foul and subsequently pushed the American Fork defender, drawing a quick technical foul. That was the one time when Timpanogos retaliated. For the rest of the game, the T-Wolves were content to play on and let the foul count rise.
The teams ended up shooting a combined 80 shots from the free throw line as the referees were forced to call things tight to keep the game under control. Timpanogos shot 47, hitting 33 of them.
"We've struggled all year at the foul line," Anderson said. "We came through with free throws this time."
The T-Wolves scored first and never trailed in the game, leading by three points at the end of the first quarter and six points at halftime. The T-Wolves would never let the lead get any closer than two possessions the rest of the game.
American Fork struggled to score all night Timpanogos' plan to take away the 3-point shot and make the Cavemen play inside worked. American Fork hit only two 3-pointers and had to scrap for everything it got in the paint.
"They didn't hit many 3s on us," said Anderson. "The game plan was to keep them out of the corners. They started taking shots that were not within their offense."
Josh Mooney led American Fork with 13 points. Greg Meacham was the only other Caveman to reach double figures, with 11 points.