OREM — For the first time in a long time, the Pleasant Grove Vikings are turning some heads on the basketball court.
The Vikings, once in the cellar of Region 7 and heading for another early exit to the off-season, knocked off one-time league power Lone Peak 54-51 Thursday night to earn the league's final spot in next week's 4A playoffs. In losing the playoff game, Lone Peak is done for the year.
"Maybe now we'll get some respect," Vikings shooting guard Todd Thurgood said, after helping his team hold off a late Lone Peak charge.
Midway through the regular season the Vikings lost four straight games. Since then, however, they've won five of six, including four wins away from home. Pleasant Grove will face long-time rival American Fork in the first round Monday at Weber State.
After trailing for two quarters, Lone Peak mounted a fourth-quarter comeback. But every time the tide was turning the Knights' way, Thurgood and reserve center Chad Evans turned things around for theVikings.
When a three-point play brought Lone Peak within three in the third, Evans responded with an inside hoop. After Lone Peak's Rick Roberts tipped in a lob pass to cut the lead to one, Evans came right back with a jumper. When Ryan Chase again brought the Knights to within one, Evans again hit a driving basket.
In the fourth, Roberts hit a long three-pointer to cut Pleasant Grove's lead to three, until Evans responded on the other end with a bucket. With three minutes remaining, and after Bruce Walters of Lone Peak had tied the game 44-44, Evans weaved inside for another comeback-killing basket.
Despite Evans' composed play, it was Thurgood's final minutes heroics that preserved the win. Evans finished with 19 points for the Vikings while Thurgood chipped in 16. Roberts had a game-high 20.
In other action:
DRAPER — Belford Williams scored 20 points and Lyman Bangerter posted 19 as Layton Christian defeated Waterford, 80-70 in the Region 17 tournament Thursday evening.
In other 1A tournament games:
MOUNT VERNON 59, INTERMOUNTAIN CHRISTIAN 45: Tristin Lawyer posted 17 points as the Patriots advanced to play Layton Christian tomorrow.
WEST RIDGE ACADEMY 56, CHRISTIAN HERITAGE 45: Jordan Lauriha and Barry Wilson scored 16 and 17 points respectively as the Fighting Eagles advance to play St. Joseph's tomorrow in the fifth and sixth-place game of Region 17.
TABIONA 80, MONUMENT VALLEY 47: Kyle Defa scored 24 and Joe Pippy 20 as the Tigers advance to play Green River tomorrow in the Region 16 tournament.
GREEN RIVER 62, DUCHESNE 58: Bowman Mitchell and Gabrin Ekker posted 26 and 25 points respectively as the Pirates advanced to play Tabiona today in the semifinals of the Region 16 tournament.
RICH 51, ALTAMONT 49: Kyle Motta scored 18 and two others were in double figures as the Rebels defeated the Longhorns to advance in the Region 16 tourney.
MANILA 64, WHITEHORSE 45: Zach Schofield's 19 points and 10 rebounds and Jeff Catron's 18 points paced the Mustangs past the Raiders in the Region 16 tournament. Manila plays Rich today at 6 p.m.
ST. JOSEPH 45, SALT LAKE LUTHERAN 40: The Jayhawks held on to defeat the Lynx in the Region 17 tournament.