Pleasant Grove has won a lot of games with its outstanding defense this year, but even it reached a new level of execution on that end of the floor in Tuesday’s 6A quarterfinals.
Pleasant Grove flustered Skyridge from the opening tip, holding its region foe to just 31% shooting and a season-low in scoring as it rolled to the 60-43 victory at the University of Utah.
“I thought our guys did a great job of just not letting them catch the ball where they usually catch it, got them a little bit out of sync,” said Pleasant Grove coach Randy McAllister.
Pleasant Grove never trailed and was only threatened once after jumping out to a 15-2 lead late in the first quarter.
Skyridge opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 16-13, but Pleasant Grove responded with a 13-4 run to close the half and never trailed by less than eight the rest of the game.
“I thought we responded before halftime to get that double digit lead at halftime which is really big. We kept responding,” said McAllister.
The closest Skyridge came in the second half was 39-31 with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings put it on cruise control from there to advance to Thursday’s 6A semifinals where it will face region rival American Fork at 8:40 p.m.
Pleasant Grove’s McCaden Adams led his team with 18 points, including 7 of 9 from the free-throw line. Michael Mitton and Isaac Garrett chipped in with 13 each. Garrett added 10 rebounds as well.
Bryson Bailey led Skyridge in the loss with 18 points, but as a team Skyridge only made one 3-pointer. It made seven in each of its region games against Pleasant Grove. Even though the Vikings won each of those games, they were both much closer than Tuesday’s quarterfinal.
“We were so good defensively. Jeff Gardner is famous for his sets and how well his teams execute offensive sets,” said McAllister.” “We worked really hard and focused on trying to take that away and trying to make them score maybe more out of a create-type situation rather than running things they’re so comfortable with. We defended the 3-point line better than we had the previous couple times we played them.”
For the Vikings, Tuesday’s win helps it rebuild the momentum it seemed to lose late in region play. After going through the first round of Region 4 play with a 5-0 record, they went just 2-3 in the second half.