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AMERICAN FORK — American Fork got past Provo with a 57-52 win Friday night behind Rob Crowther's 17 points in front of an all-standing American Fork crowd.
Provo's Braxton Bailey got hot in the first quarter and stayed that way the whole game, scoring nine of Provo's 12 first quarter points. He finished with 34 points on the night.
After going on a 7-0 run in the final four minutes of the opening period, the Bulldogs held a 3-point lead going into the second quarter.
The two teams traded buckets in the second quarter and Provo held a one-point lead going into halftime after Bailey and Isaac Johnson traded buckets in the final minute of the half.
The teams continued to trade baskets in the third quarter. Bailey picked up right where he left off in the third quarter with a 3-pointer right out of the gate. Trey Stewart then stole the ball and Jake Whitehead finished it with an easy layup for the Cavemen.
And after Stewart sunk a pair of free throws on the next play, Bailey got another layup to go. On the ensuing possession, Crowther knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Cavemen a three-point lead halfway through the third.
Provo responded with a 9-2 run, including back-to-back makes from Bailey. But the Caveman kept fighting and came back with an 8-2 run to end the quarter sparked when Dylan Simpson fired it to Crowther in the corner for 3-pointer.
The game was tied 40-40 going into the fourth quarter after Cooper Standing drew a foul just as time was expiring and converted a free throw.
The fourth quarter was a dog fight, but American Fork proved to be too much for Provo. Provo scored first to start the quarter, but then Crowther came back and nailed another 3-pointer to give AF a 43-42 lead with 5:15 left. On the defensive end, Crowther drew his second charge of the game.
Coming down the stretch, the Cavemen made the big plays. Stewart knocked down a big 3-pointer and then Crowther made a couple of free throws and on the next play used a beautiful euro step to get a layup and put the Cavemen up by seven with less than three minutes remaining.
Right when things were looking out of reach for Provo, the Bulldogs went on their own 6-2 run. Bailey and Maddux Wright both made 3-pointers to make it to cut the Cavemen lead to three with 45 seconds left. But in the end, it was just a case of too little, too late as Standing and Bronson Barron both made free throws to give the Cavemen a 57-52 win.
Bailey led all scorers with 34 points in the loss, while Crowther led American Fork with 17 points. Johnson also added 11 points in the win.
Provo (0-1) will face off against Spanish Fork Tuesday while American Fork (2-0) will play be home Thursday against Bountiful.
Sam is a Senior at American Fork High School.