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5A boys’ basketball: Pleasant Grove going for rare title

Pleasant Grove edges American Fork, faces Region 4 rival for title.

First Published Mar 07 2014 10:22 pm • Last Updated Mar 07 2014 11:17 pm

Riley Court’s free throws repeatedly hit nothing but net, but it wasn’t until his body hit the Huntsman Center floor that Pleasant Grove could celebrate.

The junior guard made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 2 minutes, then used an all-out effort to tip away the final inbound pass and clinch a 68-65 victory against American Fork in Friday night’s Class 5A state semifinal.

At a glance

Storylines

Riley Court scores 13 of his 15 points in the second half and the Vikings make 22 of 25 free throws to advance.

» Ryan Andrus scores 26 points, but AF can’t hold a five-point halftime lead.

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Court landed hard on his elbow and tailbone, but the momentary discomfort subsided shortly after Pleasant Grove advanced to its first state title game in a generation.

"I knew [Tyler] Rawson was behind me and he’s capable of hitting 3s, so I just tried everything I could to get a hand on it," said Court, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.

Pleasant Grove (23-3) advanced to meet Region 4 rival Lone Peak in Saturday’s 4 p.m. championship — a game filled with historic possibilities. The Vikings, the only Utah team in the past two years to beat Lone Peak, will try to end a 52-year title drought. The Knights will play for their fourth consecutive crown

"I was born in 1962 and I tell them, ‘You think I look old? That’s how long it’s been — older than this,’ " Vikings coach Randy McAllister said. "They’re fully aware of it. It’s been a while. We’re excited."

The Vikings trailed 32-27 at halftime, but jumped ahead 4 minutes into the third quarter and never trailed again. PG finished 22 of 25 from the free-throw line, including 9 of 10 as it clung to a narrow lead down late.

Ryan Andrus scored a game-high 26 points for the Cavemen (17-9), who cut the lead to 66-65 on a Brendan Bailey 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left.

But Court’s confidence at the line showed up once again.

"We’ve got a lot of mentally tough kids on our team," Court said. "We practice free throws a lot and we know we’re capable of it.


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"This has been our goal all year, but we’ve got a tough team next. Stay humble but hungry, that’s our motto."



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