TAYLORSVILLE — The American Fork mascot may be the Cavemen, but the girls basketball team is better described as the fast and the furious. The more frenetic the pace, the more at home these young players feel.
"We want it to be raggedy," said head coach Corey Clayton after the Cavemen defeated second-ranked Bingham 70-53 in Thursday's 5A quarterfinal at Salt Lake Community College. "We love to play that pace, that style. We get nervous if it gets into a slowed down game."
The key to the 10th ranked Cavemen beating Bingham was the spectacular start. Junior guard Haley Holmstead had the hot hand scoring 20 of her 25 points in the first half.
"It was nice to have a good first half like that," Clayton said.
The Miners made some defensive adjustments in the second half, but that's when Holmstead's teammates, like Amy Krommenhoek took over the scoring duties. The sophomore finished with 13 points, while junior center added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Clayton called the game "a great team win," but when asked about Holmstead he offered her high praise.
"You don't realize what you're about to get," Clayton said. "Film doesn't do her justice. Scouting her does do her justice. Until you've got her standing there in front of you, it's hard to understand. She is just powerful."
Defensively, the Cavemen were led by Nikki Ybarra, who scored six points, dished out four assists and grabbed three steals.
"That's our team, we're crazy," Ybarra said. "Everything is fast. We like to get everyone running ... It's good to get past the second round this year."
Clayton said it isn't too much speed that concerns him.
"Our defensive plan was to do what we do every game," Clayton said. "If you can beat our defensive pressure, then you deserve to win."
The Miners made some runs in the second half, but after being down by 19 points at halftime the deficit was just too much to overcome.
Bingham was led by senior Erika Newbold, who scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds, as well as Monique Bruggeman, who added 12 points and four rebounds. Junior guard Nicole Yazzie led the team in rebounds with six, while scoring 10 points for the Miners.
The win means American Fork will face Jordan in the semifinals Friday at 6 p.m.
Game at a glance
Top performer: Haley Holmstead got her team off to a solid start scoring 20 of her 25 points in the first half.
Key stat: The Cavemen had more assists (20-12), more steals (7-4) and more rebounds (34-24).
Next: Semifinals, American Fork vs. Jordan, 6 p.m. Friday