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Lone Peak boys hoops blitzes American Fork

By Beky Beaton daily Herald - | Jan 8, 2016
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Lone Peak senior guard Franklin Jackson (15) slams the ball through the net during a game between American Fork and Lone Peak on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at Utah Valley University in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Lone Peak senior guard Franklin Jackson (15) is fouled by American Fork senior guard Brendan Bailey (10) during a game between American Fork and Lone Peak on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at Utah Valley University in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Lone Peak senior guard Talmage Gunther (3) tries to weave in between defenders during a game between American Fork and Lone Peak on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at Utah Valley University in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Lone Peak senior guard Franklin Jackson (15) reacts after hitting a three pointer during a game between American Fork and Lone Peak on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at Utah Valley University in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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American Fork senior guard Spencer Johnson (32) blocks Lone Peak junior guard (35) Nathan Harkness' shot during a game between American Fork and Lone Peak on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at Utah Valley University in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Lone Peak senior guard Franklin Jackson (15) slams the ball through the net during a game between American Fork and Lone Peak on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at Utah Valley University in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Lone Peak senior Chad Pollard (34) goes up for a shot over American Fork senior guard Braden Condie (10) during a game between American Fork and Lone Peak on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at Utah Valley University in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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American Fork senior guard Benji Judd (4) goes up to the hoop during a game between American Fork and Lone Peak on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 at Utah Valley University in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

OREM – The Lone Peak boys basketball team used strong defense and balanced scoring to defeat a high-caliber American Fork squad 73-60 in the Region 4 opener for both clubs in front of thousands of fans at Utah Valley University on Friday night.

The stars did what was expected of them. Marquette-bound senior wing Brendan Bailey scored a game-high 28 points for the Cavemen and senior guard Spencer Johnson heated up in the second half and finished with 18.

On the other side of the court, Duke-bound wing Frank Jackson dropped in 21 himself and helped distribute to his teammates, a strategy which allowed the other Knights to contribute to the outcome of the contest.

Sophomore guard Steven Ashworth tallied 20, while junior guard Nathan Harkness added 10 points and senior guard Talmage Gunther scored 10 off the bench, as well, including three treys at crucial moments in the game.

It was a back-and-forth slugfest in the opening quarter, but a floating lay-in by Jackson made it 15-13 to start the second period.

Lone Peak went on an 11-4 spurt in the first three minutes of the quarter. First Ashworth got a bucket on a friendly roll. Bailey followed with a jumper and then a crowd-pleasing dunk to tie the score at 17.

Jackson responded with a tip-in for two, then found Gunther for his first 3-pointer. Harkness added a free throw following Gunther’s defensive board, and then Ashworth got a rebound and dished to Gunther for his second trey.

The Knights had a 37-26 advantage at the break, but coming out of the locker room, it was American Fork’s turn to make a push.

Thanks to great floor effort from senior guard Benji Judd, Bailey’s hot hand and a layup by junior guard Jake Whitehead, the Cavemen reduced the deficit to just four at the 5:15 mark.

Lone Peak responded by scoring the next 10 points on free throws from Jackson, 3-pointers by Ashworth and Gunther, and a long 2 by Harkness to make it 49-35.

It was 54-40 entering the final stanza. American Fork continued to work hard and cut into the deficit from time to time, but the Knights always answered the bell and held on for the important league victory.

“That was a good win against a very good, well-coached team,” said Lone Peak coach David Evans. “They have two of the best players in the state.”

Evans was especially pleased with what he got from Gunther.

“He’s just a great teammate,” the coach said. “Here’s an All-State football quarterback who comes off the bench and is just happy to contribute any way he can.

“What he brought was huge,” Evans continued. “He hit a couple big shots and played great defense. I’m super-proud of him.”

The coach also noted the terrific defensive efforts of another football player, Tyson Doman, who drew the assignment on Johnson, and Chad Pollard’s work against Bailey.

“They did a fantastic job,” he said.

Harkness played well in every aspect but was especially effective off the glass.

“His offensive boards took their momentum away,” Evans said. “Frank did a better job rebounding and distributing the ball as well. It was a great team win.”

The Knights (9-2, 1-0) next visit Herriman (8-2, 1-0) and the Cavemen (10-2, 0-1) travel to Westlake (11-0, 1-0) Tuesday at 7 p.m.

AMERICAN FORK (60): Hucks 3, Judd 9, Bailey 28, Johnson 18, Whitehead 2. Totals 22 12-21 60.

LONE PEAK (73): Gunther 10, Ashworth 20, Ross 1, Doman 2, Jackson 21, Chad Pollard 9, Harkness 10. Totals 23 20-30 73.

Amer. Fork;13;13;14;20;–;60

Lone Peak;15;22;17;19;–;73

3-point goals: American Fork 4 (Bailey 2, Judd, Johnson), Lone Peak 7 (Gunther 3, Ashworth 2, Chad Pollard, Harkness).

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