PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove's Matt Van Komen is one of the most extraordinary athletes in the prep ranks and about as big of a game-changer as they come.
But the Viking boys basketball team presents a lot more than its 7-foot-4 center and proved that during Friday's 72-56 win over visiting 5A powerhouse Timpanogos.
The game featured four Pleasant Grove players scoring in double-figures and another player (Max Miller) adding nine.
"We're very balanced," said Pleasant Grove coach Randy McAllister. "We don't count on one guy every night. We count on everybody and we share the ball. Teams sometimes try and take Matt out of it and we're fine with that."
Foul trouble kept Van Komen out of a good portion of the first half with the visiting team fighting back and forth. The end result was a slim 36-33 lead for the Vikings at the break with McAllister focused on shutting down at least one of the Timberwolves' prolific guards in the second half.
McAllister's directive was aimed at shutting down Timpanogos' Matt Norman, who torched the nets in the first half along with teammate Colin Christensen.
"Norman and (Christensen) scored 29 of their team's 33 points, so we needed to limit at least one of those guys," McAllister said.
Turns out his plan worked.
Greater defensive pressure from guards like Kael Mikkelsen and Tim Nichols helped limit Norman to just two points scored in a third quarter with the Vikings taking command. A quick 11-3 run out of the gate in the second half helped forge a 53-43 lead entering a fourth quarter that saw Van Komen make more of an impact and the Vikings roll to a large margin of victory.
"Defensively Matt played a much bigger impact in the second half," McAllister said. "They went at him in the first half and got him to bump into them. ... So we told him to just use his space better and realize how long he is."
Van Komen finished with 11 points despite being limited considerably with first-half foul trouble.Comment on this story
Leading the scoring for the Vikings was Mikkelsen, who scored 15, Casey Brown who contributed 14 and Tyler Fairbanks who added another 12.
Despite being limited in the third quarter, Timpanogos' Norman finished with a game-high 27 points.
"They're a really good offensive squad and Norman is one of the best players in the state," McAllister said.
With the win, the Vikings improve to 13-2 on the year and will begin Region 4 play next Friday taking on Westlake. Timpanogos drops to 9-5 with the loss and will begin Region 8 play next Friday with a game at Springville.