PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove supported its big man in the middle, junior Matt Van Komen, and he carried them to a 56-38 Region 4 win Friday night, but the game seemed closer than the final score.
In this first region game this year between American Fork and Pleasant Grove the tension was tight. The crowd was large and noisy and neither team could quiet them down in the first period.
The Cavemen put pressure on Van Komen for the first few minutes and held the big center to only two points as the first period closed. Four Vikings scored in that period, whereas the Cavemen had six players get on the board, with the score 16-11 and American Fork looking to take charge early.
The second period was more defensive than offensive, and the Vikings only scored 10 points including Van Komen's six of the 10. But this is when Pleasant Grove's "D" came up big as they held American Fork to only one basket and it came from Cavemen quick junior guard Trey Stewart.
By the end of the second period, Pleasant Grove had slipped past American Fork to show a 21-18 mark.
The third period did not improve for the Cavemen as they still had problems scoring as they hit three field goals with Pleasant Grove showing the same result as the second period with 10 points. Again, defense was the name of the game for the complete middle of this rivalry competition, and at the end of three periods, the score was 31-24.
The final period ran a bit smoother on offense as frustration began to settle in on both teams, but the Vikings came up strong, scoring 25 points with 12 points coming from the foul line. The final score came from senior forward Jesse Boggess with 25 second remaining as he made a monstrous slam dunk and added a foul shot for a three-point play. That brought the crowd to its feet and brought five younger players onto the floor as the Viking starting five went to the bench.
Pleasant Grove pulled away from the Cavemen during the final five minutes as they spent time at the charity line.
"We practiced a bit different this week as I let them try to have little more fun in the game," Pleasant Grove head coach, Randy McAllister said, "I let them choose which plays to start the game tonight and how to run together as a team."
American Fork junior forward Isaac Johnson proved to be team's strength with a team-high 14 points in the loss. Stewart added eight points, and senior guards Bronson Barron and Rob Crowther scored five points each.
Van Komen was the high point man of the floor with 20 points, six of them from the foul line. Junior guard Kawika Akina scored eight points, while junior guard Casey Brown added seven points and guards Tyler Pearson and Kael Mikkelsen contributed six points each.
Kent Allen lives in Pleasant Grove and reports on Pleasant Grove High School varsity sports for Deseret Connect.