PLEASANT GROVE — Dealing with 7-foot-3 Pleasant Grove center Matthew Van Komen can be a nightmare, but it helps when a team presents the type of perimeter play Lone Peak did Friday night. The result was a 65-61 win for the Knights, with their guards raining down 3-pointers while playing stingy defense throughout to secure the win.
As for those 3-pointers, seven of nine made by the Knights came during the third quarter, which turned a 26-20 Viking lead into a 48-37 lead for the Knights entering the final quarter.
Leading the 3-point barrage was senior Taylor Madson, who hit three 3-point attempts and added a 3-point play for good measure. The 6-foot guard normally takes a backseat to prolific Lone Peak guards like Chantry Ross and Steven Ashworth, although his scoring outburst in the third quarter came as no surprise to Lone Peak coach Dave Evans.
"Taylor is a special scorer. He's really quick and he finishes really well around the rim," Evans said. "Last year on (junior varsity) he averaged over 20 points per game. So he's had to fill a different role for us, but sometimes he'll have those outbursts, and he's a fun kid."
It was apparent things were going well for Madson when he banked in a pull-up three one possession after draining his third 3-pointer of the quarter. Madson just smiled and said, "Sometimes it just goes."
Things didn't go all that well for the Knights in the fourth quarter, however, with too many missed foul shots down the stretch that left things interesting until the final buzzer. Altogether, the Knights went just 3-10 from the stripe to finish out, something Evans was concerned about.
"We've got to do better on our free throws," Evans said. "Up to that point we had shot really well from the line. But we'll learn from it and get better for it."
Also complicating matters for Lone Peak in the fourth quarter was starting point guard Steven Ashworth fouling out with 3:22 remaining and the Knights leading just 51-47. But enter Kaleo Bandmann at that point, who was able to finish things out effectively while accounting for his team's only made field goal in the final quarter.
"He came in confident, just as he has before," Evans said, referring to big plays made by Bandmann in wins against Bingham and then against American Fork last Tuesday.
Playing big throughout for Lone Peak was Ross, who finished with a game-high 21 points while doing his best work driving toward the basket.
As for defending Van Komen, and accounting for his extraordinary size on the offensive end, Evans chose to spread the floor, which works effectively when you have perimeter players who get it done most nights.
"His length is such an issue for us. He's a foot taller than the guy guarding him, and he's become so much more skilled than from a year ago," Evans said of Van Komen. "So we just changed the way we guarded him a little bit."
With the win, Lone Peak improves to 3-0 in Region 4 play and 14-3 overall. Next up for the Knights is a home game versus Westlake next Friday. The Vikings fall to 1-1 in Region 4 play with the loss and 14-3 overall with the loss.