PLEASANT GROVE — A balanced offense and quick defense helped the Vikings outlast American Fork's talented shooting and height to exit this last region competition with Pleasant Grove winning the Region 4 championship 86-83.
"That is one big, strong team," said Pleasant Grove head basketball coach Randy McAllister. "They are going to go far in the playoffs."
Scoring was even for both teams in the first half as the Cavemen scored 18 points in both the first and second period ending half with 36 points. The Vikings fared a bit better as they scored 21 and 22 points, ending with the lead, 43-36.
In that half, Pleasant Grove nailed 6 treys, two from senior guard Casey Brown and four from senior guard Tyler Fairbanks. Brown ended up being the high-point player for the game with 31 total points. It was mentioned that Brown had recently passed the 1,000-point mark for his play-making abilities at Pleasant Gove. After the end of the game.
"We came out fast and just kept it going," Brown said at the end of the game. "They are a big team and we had to outplay them."
In the third period, American Fork scored the same 18 points again but slowed Pleasant Grove a bit as they scored only 17 points but still held the lead, 60-53.
As the final period started, the Cavemen knew they had to step up the pace if they wanted to take home a championship. And step up they did. They scored on 5 treys, ending up with a final score of 83 points as they scored 29 points in that final effort. The Vikings stayed with the lead as they scored 26 points, ending with the win at 86-83.
American Fork ended up with four players scoring in double figures, with senior guard Tanner Cuff and senior center Isaac Johnson with 22 points apiece, senior guard Hayden Franson with 16 points and senior Trey Stewart with 14 points.
Pleasant Grove also had four players scoring in double figures. Brown was the high-point man with 31 points, senior Tyler Fairbanks scored 26 points, senior guard Kawika Akina scored 11 points and senior 7-foot-4 center Matt Van Komen scored 10 points.Comment on this story
With the loss, the Cavemen now have a region record of 6-2, placing them in a solid second place in region with an overall record of 20-3.
This win gives Pleasant Grove a perfect 8-0 region record and a Region 4 championship with an overall record of 21-2.
"I feel relief, excitement and I am very proud of how hard these kids have played," McAllister said. "The Cavemen are an extremely good team. They are big, can rebound and run the ball. They are tough to beat."
The state playoffs begin next week at Weber State, with the Vikings slated to open on Monday morning at 11:10 a.m. against Weber High School.