American Fork • Pleasant Grove planned to play Friday’s crucial Region 4 game at American Fork without Riley Court after the junior point guard missed Thursday’s practice with back spasms.
But Court healed enough to play, and he left the host Cavemen in pain by game’s end.
Boys’ basketball Storylines
O Pleasant Grove’s Riley Court scores 20 points a day after missing practice with back spasms.
» The Vikings make a season-high 13 3-pointers and lead by as many as 15 points in the second half.
Court scored a game-high 20 points and made three of Pleasant Grove’s 13 3-pointers in a 76-70 victory that kept the Vikings’ region title hopes alive.
"You know coming in here that you have to shoot the ball well," Pleasant Grove coach Randy McAllister said. "We had so many guys step up and hit shots when they needed to. We weren’t hesitant at all, and we took the shots when we had them and made enough of them to win."
Matt Conway scored 18 points as the Vikings (15-2, 4-1) stayed a game back of Lone Peak in the league standings.
"That was our region championship shot," McAllister said. "If we had lost tonight, we would have been out of the running, and the kids knew that. It’s a huge one to steal on the road."
Brendan Bailey scord 19 points and Tyler Rawson added 17 for the Cavemen (11-6, 4-2), who lost for the first time in five games.
A game that featured a marquee match of big men – Conway and AF’s Ryan Andrus – was decided beyond the arc. Pleasant Grove built a nine-point halftime lead on the strength of six 3s, and they built the cushion to 15 on Nate Didericksen’s 3-pointer near the end of the third quarter.
The Vikings’ previous season high for 3-pointers was eight, against Herriman.
Andrus was held scoreless in the first half and finished with nine points — the first time this season he failed to score in double figures.
The Cavemen’s pressure defense helped whittle the deficit to 70-65 with 1:04 to go, but Court and the Vikings made free throws down the stretch and played keepaway to preserve the victory.
"[Court] couldn’t tie his shoes, couldn’t bend, and I was planning to play without him," McAllister said. "He gutted it up and got treatment today. So many times a kid will have a little ailment and play much more in control. He played so well tonight because he thought he shouldn’t be playing anyway."
Court made 7 of 8 free throws in the final two minutes.
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