Matt Van Komen, Pleasant Grove’s 7-foot-3 junior center, already holds several college basketball scholarship offers. He likely improved his prospects with a strong showing in the Class 6A boys’ basketball state tournament.
In Saturday’s championship game, though, a future college golfer outplayed him. BYU-bound Max Brenchley and his Lone Peak teammates finished second in their bid to win a fifth straight state golf title in October, but he played a big role in the Knights’ return to the basketball championship level.
The 6-5 Brenchley teamed with 6-7 Jackson Brinkerhoff in holding Van Komen to eight points in Lone Peak’s 61-44 victory at the Huntsman Center.
“For a lot of us, it’s our last ride,” Brenchley said, “so we’re just happy to get it done.”
Brenchley’s final round of the Class 6A boys’ golf tournament was disappointing, but he played his best basketball at the end of his high school career. He posted 12 points and 13 rebounds against Pleasant Grove after contributing 10 points and 15 boards in a state semifinal defeat of Layton.
Lone Peak coach David Evans liked the defensive work of Brinkerhoff and Brenchley. But he wouldn’t take credit for any coaching strategy against Van Komen, who went 4 of 14 from the field after scoring 14, 18 and 17 points in Pleasant Grove’s first three tournament games. “He might be worn out from four games in five days,” Evans said. “He gets pounded on every game.”
Evans occasionally used future BYU football lineman Connor Pay on Van Komen in the Knights’ two narrow victories in Region 4 play, but he stuck with his best offensive lineup Saturday.
“I just tried to take up as much space as possible, tried to cover as much ground as I could,” Brinkerhoff said, “because if he gets the ball anywhere near the basket, he’s going to put ’em in.”
Brenchley’s approach was to “just be physical with him,” he said. “It’s tough to compete with him, especially because of his height.”
Van Komen’s sixth point came early in Saturday’s third quarter. He didn’t score again until the game’s last 23 seconds. Van Komen finished with 11 rebounds and one blocked shot; Casey Brown led Pleasant Grove with 15 points and Tyler Pearson added seven.
The Vikings were trying to win the school’s first basketball championship since 1961, having made “Legendary” their season’s theme. Van Komen will have another chance to make history next year.