Prep girls' basketball: Cavemen feature deep, talented roster
Give it a shot. Pick your poison. Which of American Fork's scoring threats are you going to try to stop?
Is it Cassidy Fraughton, the all-state talent with the steady hand from 3-point range? That's a start, but she just as easily can swing the ball to Ashley Baugh, the 6-foot guard with the ability to score 20 points any night.
And don't sleep on Megan Eliason, a senior who leads the team in 3-pointers, Maile Richardson, who torched Syracuse for 18 points in her Cavemen debut, or Amy Bergeson, a senior who led the way offensively in a season-opening victory at Mountain View.
So, really â¦ who are you going to stop?
"Our team is as deep as we've ever been, as far as multiple girls with the ability to have big scoring nights," American Fork coach Corey Clayton said. "We really believe there are four, five, maybe six girls who on any given night can score double figures, or 20 points for some of them."
American Fork's depth is a big reason the Cavemen enter the week unbeaten and coming off a thrashing of defending Class 5A state champion Syracuse.
Sure, the Titans barely resemble the team that lost one game in three seasons, but it doesn't make the 21-point triumph count any less for American Fork.
"I ended up guarding one of their star players most of the game, and it's enjoyable to see your hard work pay off like that," said Baugh, a senior who guarded Syracuse point guard Jayda Bovero. "They had knocked us out of the [state] tournament two years in a row, so it was really great to finally beat Syracuse."
The landscape in Class 5A appears to have formed perfectly for the Cavemen to make a run at their second state title and first since 2009. Syracuse lost Brittney Martin and Makenlee Williams. Alta graduated Makenzi Morrison. Whitney Johnson has moved on from Lone Peak.
With nine seniors returning to a talented roster that reached the state semifinals last season, it sure looks like it's American Fork's turn at the top.
"I really believe in us, and I think we're going to win it all," Baugh said. "It's going to take a lot of teamwork and we have a lot of chemistry as it is. I think we have a very good chance of taking state."
Add to that experience the talented Richardson, a sophomore transfer from Layton who Clayton hopes will shore up a relatively inexperienced front court.
"Inside, we'll develop as we go through the season," Clayton said. "That's where our young players are in the post. As they develop, we'll get stronger inside."
The development of Richardson, Bergeson and junior Melissa Squire will go a long way toward helping the Cavemen reach their goal.
That maturation might come later this month when American Fork travels to Phoenix to play in the Tournament of Champions. The team will share a bus with Timpanogos to the tournament, in which American Fork most recently played three years ago.
"We've been there two times before, so I know from experience what you get there," Clayton said. "You're going to face the elite of the elite. It will be a great test for us."
Out of the Cave
American Fork enters the week 3-0, its best start in three years.
The Cavemen have nine seniors, and coach Corey Clayton says it is the deepest team he has coached.
American Fork reached the state semifinals last season and is looking for its first state title since the 2008-09 season.