AMERICAN FORK — The American Fork boys basketball team arrived about two quarters late for its season-opener against Alta — at least that's how it appeared on the scoreboard.
The Cavemen were plagued by poor shooting and committed one turnover after another in the first half but managed a complete turnaround after halftime, dominating the second half on their way to a 63-51 win.
American Fork had committed twelve turnovers, hit just four field goals, and headed into the locker room trailing 28-18 at halftime.
It took just a few minutes for the lead to evaporate as the Cavemen opened up the third quarter with a 14-1 run to take charge of the game.
Senior swingman Mason Porter scored six points during the stretch that included four turnovers by the Hawks and a three-point play by Jeff Toone.
"We took care of the ball and that was the difference," said American Fork coach Doug Meacham. "Our help side defense was better and we probably had 10 attempts at charges. We had guys really coming to attack."
American Fork outscored Alta 19-4 to take a 37-32 lead at the end of the third quarter, and the Hawks could never get the momentum back.
Alta made a few brief runs in the fourth quarter, but the Cavemen hit their free throws and kept up a tough defense to coast to the win.
Porter, Toone, and Jayce Ross combined for 35 points to lead the way for American Fork.
During one stretch in the final quarter, American Fork had three starters foul out in succession.
Toone, Mckay Frandsen, and Austin Haws each picked up their fifth foul, but the Cavemen's depth kept Alta from taking advantage.
"I don't have any concern going 10 deep with our guys," said Meacham. "I really feel good about our bench. The guys stepped up."
American Fork shot 43 free throws during the game, most coming late in the fourth quarter. The Cavemen converted 29 of the attempts while Alta was just 16-27 from the line.
"I felt like some of the guys at the end of the game came to get the ball and wanted to be at the free throw line," said Meacham. "That's something I challenge the guys they've got to work on after practice."
Broaden Hansen had 14 points to lead Alta before fouling out late in the game. Jake Campbell added nine for the Hawks.