PLEASANT GROVE — Chemistry lesson No. 1 at Pleasant Grove High — two new players, a talented freshman, a deep bench and a couple of seasoned veterans is a pretty good formula in getting win No. 1.
Using all of those ingredients Tuesday night the Pleasant Grove Vikings rode a strong second and third quarter to knock off the visiting Provo Bulldogs 90-82. The Vikings led by 12 at halftime, by as many as 20 early in the fourth quarter and then held off a late Provo charge to earn the season-opening win.
"I'd like to know when the last time a team scored 90 points against Provo. I bet it was a long time ago," Vikings coach Randy McAllister said.
The reasons behind the high-scoring output where many, but mainly because the Vikings went to the charity stripe 43 times and because they forced the Bulldogs into repeated turnovers in the second and third quarters with their pressure defense.
"We wanted to play a helter-skelter kind of game. And when you get a lot of extra possessions you're going to score more points. It's that simple," McAllister said.
Pleasant Grove is deeper that it's been for several years, and rotating 10 players onto the court seemed to wear the Bulldogs down and had them forcing their offense a little. Four Bulldogs fouled out of the game, and many of those fouls were offensive charges.
"I really think the difference in the game was that we seemed to have a few more fresher legs on the court," McAllister said.
But how about the debut game of transfer forward Mitch Peterson? He appeared right at home and comfortable in pouring in a game-high 29 points, with many of those coming off of put-back baskets and hustle plays. Seniors Greg Thurgood and Jayden Gray added 17 and 15 points respectively. Matt Hardman chipped in eight, as did freshman standout C.J. Wilcox. Junior Tallon Robertson also had a nice game off the bench with seven points and grabbed several loose balls. Nine Vikings scored.
Provo was led by 21 from senior Tanner Gregory, with 15 of those coming during Provo's fourth-quarter surge. Kenyn Koop tossed in 20 and Chris Collingsworth posted 16.
The game was knotted 13-13 after one quarter when Thurgood had a late steal and layup for the Vikings. But Pleasant Grove got rolling early in the second period with a 9-0 run to take a 22-15 lead. Provo cut the lead to 27-25, but a late 3-pointer by Gray and layup by Hardman gave the Vikings a 44-32 lead at intermission.
The margin stayed right around 10-12 points for most of the third period until a trey by Thurgood and an old-fashioned 3-point play by Robertson put Pleasant Grove up 57-40. A put-back basket right before the buzzer by Peterson gave the Vikings an 18-point lead after three quarters.
When Peterson opened the fourth with two free throws the lead reached 20 points at 65-45. From there the Bulldogs applied a ferocious press and came climbing back, cutting the lead to 12 several times behind Gregory's play in the paint and then to 10 points late on five straight points from Koop. However, the Vikings lead was too much. A Provo basket at the buzzer put the Bulldogs within eight, their closest margin since late in the second quarter.