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5A girls’ basketball: American Fork holds off Viewmont for second state title in school history

First Published      Last Updated Feb 27 2017 12:02 pm


5A girls’ basketball » After three near misses, American Fork wins the title.

Taylorsville • Viewmont had just scored in the Class 5A girls' basketball championship at Salt Lake Community College on Saturday morning when American Fork began waiting.

The Cavemen had waited four years for this moment, so they were more than willing to wait 4 more seconds. Refusing to inbound the ball, there was nothing the Vikings could do to prolong the inevitable as the clock expired and American Fork rushed the floor as champions after their 50-46 win.

"It's a dream. It's something we've been working toward. It's what we came here to do," American Fork guard Taylor Moeaki said.

The Cavemen (25-1) won 25 straight games, but more importantly achieved the dream delayed by years of heartbreak. As freshmen, they lost in the championship game, then lost in the semifinals in consecutive seasons by a combined total of nine points.

"I'm happy for them," American Fork coach Corey Clayton said. "They've worked really hard their whole lives, and certainly the last four years to get back to this game. They've had heartbreak along the way, and that's what you need to be resilient and determined. I think they came into today already with their mind made up on how this is going to end."

Moeaki, whom Clayton said is the best player he's ever coached, was named the All-Tournament MVP. She finished with a game-high 21 points in her final high school game. Taylor Franson, who scored five points and grabbed six rebounds, also was included on the All-Tournament team. Viewmont's Megan Carr (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Mercedes Staples (12 points) also were honored.

American Fork, however, was fortunate to emerge victorious. The Vikings (21-4) were better in almost every statistical category, including a 32-10 advantage in points in the paint.

But the Cavemen were superior in two major stretches. American Fork opened the game with a 17-4 lead after the first quarter, eventually ballooning the cushion to 19 points. Viewmont steadily mounted its comeback, eventually cutting its deficit to 33-31 before Paige Farnsworth delivered a 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the third period and another with 6:09 remaining in regulation to boost the advantage back to 39-31.

"Everyone has their peaks and valleys, it's just super important to stay level-headed through it all," said Farnsworth, adding she knew both triples were good the second she released them.

Added Clayton: "I didn't even call a timeout. I didn't say anything. The way we play, sometimes teams make runs, and that's OK. I knew we would counter with a run of our own."

It was part of a 14-2 run between the third and fourth quarters that provided enough breathing room to withstand the Vikings' late push. The win marked the second title in school history, joining the championship team from 2009.

tphibbs@sltrib.com

Twitter: @trevorphibbs




 

AT A GLANCE

American Fork 50, Viewmont 46

American Fork builds huge lead and holds on to win second title in school history.

» Taylor Moeaki named All-Tournament MVP

» The Cavemen finish the year on a 25-game winning streak.


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