HIGHLAND — The Pleasant Grove vs. Lone Peak boys basketball game Tuesday night was fitting of both teams' seasons.

The Knights, thanks to three late free throws from sophomore Cory Chase, pulled out another squeaker. The Vikings lost another heart breaker on some hard-luck plays and a hard-luck late call.

Lone Peak's 55-53 victory puts the Knights (6-1) one win away from a share of the Region 7 crown. With the loss, Pleasant Grove (1-5) has its back against the wall. If Orem wins tonight against Timpanogos, the Vikings would have to win their final two games to make the playoffs.

"We might just be the best bad team in the state," Pleasant Grove coach Randy McAllister said after his team's ninth close loss of the season. "We just need to get bigger leads and not let the games come down to a final play or a final whistle."

The final whistle Tuesday went against Pleasant Grove. Trailing by one with four seconds remaining, the Vikings' Landon Hallman was called for a charge on a driving layup.

"On plays like that you just flip a coin and pray it goes your way. That one didn't, but the possession earlier did, and that's how it goes on those close ones," McAllister said.

Two foul shots from Hallman gave Pleasant Grove a 53-52 lead with under two minutes remaining. But Chase responded by sinking three of four free throws in the final 90 seconds to give Lone Peak its margin of victory. A final desperation heave from 3-point range by Pleasant Grove's Jay Helquist came up inches short.

The game looked like it was going to be all Lone Peak early as the Knights marched out to an 11-2 lead thanks to a 30-second spurt during which they canned three straight 3-pointers. A bomb from Brent Wade was sandwiched between two treys from sharpshooter Jackson Emery.

The Vikings were getting the ball in deep to their big men early, but it wasn't doing much good. Pleasant Grove missed close to a dozen shots in the paint in the opening two quarters — many didn't even draw iron. But the Vikings finally got things clicking, and behind the inside blue-collar work of Nate Clement and Chad Evans clawed back to 27-25 in the final minute of the second quarter. A basket by Chase right before intermission gave Lone Peak a 29-25 halftime lead.

The third period was an offensive rebounding highlight film for Pleasant Grove. Evans and Clement gave the Vikings several second chances and Pleasant Grove took its first lead at 38-36. But Emery, Chase, Wade and some critical put-back hoops by Brandon Knight helped Lone Peak regain a one-point lead after three.

An Evans hoop and foul shot early in the fourth gave the Vikings their biggest lead at 49-45. But from there Pleasant Grove went cold again, while the Knights were feasting at the line the entire fourth period. Lone Peak scored its final seven points from the charity stripe and Pleasant Grove didn't have a field goal in the final five minutes.

Emery finished with a game high 19, while Chase chipped in 15. Evans scored 17 hard-fought points for Pleasant Grove and Clement added 10 before fouling out.


E-mail: jimr@desnews.com