Pleasant Grove forward Matt Conway could not be bothered by the fact that Layton featured a 6-foot-9 center in Mike Hibbert.
After Conway, a 6-6 senior forward, got Hibbert into foul trouble just five minutes into the game, he went to work.
He carved up Layton inside with 18 points in the first half, and that was just the beginning. He finished with 35 points Tuesday night to key Pleasant Grove’s 82-69 win over Layton in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament.
“He’s done that all year along,” Pleasant Grove coach Randy McAllister said. “He’s got good moves. He can shoot over or around someone or he can go by somebody and draw a foul. He just usually beats the guy who is guarding him. He’s really done a good job learning the post position, and give credit to our guys for getting him the ball.”
Conway connected on 14 of 20 from the field and pulled down 10 rebounds. He sparked an 8-0 run in the second quarter that helped the Vikings take control of the game.
After a basket from Mark Sheffield, Conway cashed in a pair of free throws and got loose inside for a basket to give Pleasant Grove a 24-13 lead.
The Vikings added to their advantage with a pair of offensive-rebound baskets from Conway and a jumper from Riley Court to make the score 34-21 late in the first half.
Pleasant Grove’s Forrest Pincock opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer, and after Layton answered with a 3-pointer from Brandon Hill, Conway responded with a three-point play.
A steal from Hayden de Hoyos led to a Sheffield layup, and after Conway scored inside again to give the Vikings a 50-34 lead with 4 minutes, 40 seconds left in the quarter, Layton fans could be heard grumbling.
Layton made a run and cut the lead to 52-44 after a basket from Hibbert, but a 3-pointer to end the quarter pushed the lead to 57-44 and effectively put the game out of reach.
In addition to Conway’s big night, the Vikings also got a solid effort from Sheffield, who finished with 18 points.
Layton was led by Hill, who finished with 23 points and knocked down four 3-pointers.
The loss ended the Lancers’ season at 16-8. Pleasant Grove will play Alta at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the state quarterfinals.
“This is one of the hardest working teams I’ve ever had, so I just love to see them rewarded for all their hard work,” McAllister said. “Now we have a shot at Alta. They got us earlier in the year, so it will be fun to play them again.”
Pleasant Grove 82, Layton 69
• Matt Conway strikes for 35 points on 14 of 20 shooting to lead the Vikings
• Pleasant Grove shoots 61.7 percent from the field in the contest
• Jarriesse Blackmon finishes a rebound short of a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds