Pleasant Grove welcomed undefeated Mountain Ridge to its basketball court Tuesday night, resulting in a 63-53 Viking victory. Pleasant Grove never trailed en route to their sixth win of the year.
The Vikings met every Sentinel surge with a response of their own, the game ending with one tie and no lead changes. Mountain Ridge knotted things up at 16 as the first quarter came to a close, never getting any closer in the next three quarters.
Long time Pleasant Grove head coach Randy McAllister praised his team’s defense — a key component that kept the Vikings in front all game. “Our defensive effort tonight was very good most of the night,” he said. “I think defensively we were pretty solid.”
The Sentinels entered the game with a 25.2 average margin of victory through their first five games. Tuesday night was much different, as Pleasant Grove held the high-powered offense more than 13 points below its average points per game.
“I’m proud of the way we responded to them cutting the lead and coming back and getting the lead back to double digits.” — Pleasant Grove head coach Randy McAllister
“We played a really good offensive team and held them under what they’ve been scoring this year,” McAllister said of Mountain Ridge following the game. “That was a key to the game for sure.”
The Vikings jumped out to an early nine-point lead in the first quarter, but the Sentinels ended the quarter on a 12-3 run, tying the game on an easy Jake Fitton bucket that was set up by a Brantyn Van Dyke dish.
The Vikings then used a 19-point second quarter and stifling defense to push the lead to 11 going into the locker room. However, Pleasant Grove’s double-digit lead did not last for long.
Mountain Ridge came within two points of the Viking lead in the third quarter before the home squad went on a 10-2 run to end the period.
“They came out (of the half) ready to play and we did not,” McAllister said. “When you respond to that by re-extending the lead, that’s a fantastic sign that your team can adjust, get their act together and get back on the right track. I’m proud of the way we responded to them cutting the lead and coming back and getting the lead back to double digits.”
The Vikings kept the Sentinels at bay the rest of the way, scoring nine of their last 11 points from the free-throw line to get the win and give Mountain Ridge its first loss of the year.
For Pleasant Grove, Tuesday marked the first home game since it lost to top ranked Davis three games into the season. Soon thereafter, the Vikings trekked to Arizona to play in the Hoophall Classic.
When asked how those previous games prepared his team for a game like tonight’s, McAllister said, “We’ve played a pretty good schedule. We’ve played some really good teams and I think we’re just little by little getting better and better.”
Pleasant Grove will return to the hardwood Friday evening, playing in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas. Mountain Ridge will travel north that same day to play at Brighton starting at 7 p.m.