Staying alive: American Fork tops Fremont to reach 6A semifinals
OGDEN — American Fork’s J.R. Turley and head coach Ryan Cuff agree: As long as the Cavemen win, nobody cares who gets the credit.
In AF’s 57-52 6A state quarterfinal victory against No. 6 Fremont on Tuesday at the Dee Events Center, it was Turley’s turn to step up on the biggest stage.
The senior guard connected on a huge 3-pointer with two minutes to play and sank all six free throws he attempted in the final minute, finishing with 12 points to help guide the Cavemen into the semifinals.
“Honestly, what I’ll say about that is we’re the most unselfish team in the state,” Turley said. “I know when all of your teammates are involved you definitely have a better chance to win. Coming into this year, I thought I would be the energy guy, making the right plays at the right time and just be a great teammate. I feel like I’ve done that but I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my teammates.”
Tiger Cuff paced No. 3 American Fork (18-8) with 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists and Ashton Wallace added 12 points. The Cavemen had a tough night overall at the foul line (21 of 31) but made enough to hold off the Silverwolves, which won the Region 1 title.
“We knew we would have to make free throws,” Coach Cuff said. “We knew it would come down to free throws and we missed a lot of them. Our goal is 20 and we made 21, but they outrebounded us.”
American Fork led 10-9 after one quarter and extended that advantage to 17-11 on a Tiger Cuff drive. Fremont closed to 26-24 at halftime but the Cavemen surged again in the third quarter, making 8 of 11 from the line to take a 39-29 lead.
American Fork took a 42-36 advantage with five minutes to play but the Silverwolves rallied and a steal and dunk by Hunter Hansen brought them back to within one, 44-43, with 3:19 remaining.
Turley, who missed an open 3-pointer earlier in the quarter, had an identical look from the corner with two minutes left and nailed that one, giving the Cavemen a 47-43 lead they would never relinquish.
“J.R. was prepared,” Coach Cuff said. “I have a lot of confidence in our guys. We want to share the ball and when we move the ball we’re going to get shots like that. He probably shot one a little too early before but what we tell them is to keep shooting. I’m proud of him for stepping up and then he hit some big-time free throws.”
Coach Cuff also credited Wallace for his defense on Hansen, who was 4 of 10 from the field and scored just eight points.
“I’m proud of Ashton,” Coach Cuff said. “He’s been here before and been in this moment before. He does not care who gets credit. He wants to guard the best player on the other team and I couldn’t take him off the floor because he was so tough defensively.”
Hoggan led Fremont (16-8) with 17 points and Boston Hadley added 12.
American Fork, which won last year’s 6A title, will play No. 2 seed Cyprus in Thursday’s late semifinal. The Pirates (23-4) held edged Syracuse 58-56 in the quarterfinals behind 31 points from Quentin Meza.
“They’ve won a lot of games and they are are very good,” Coach Cuff said. “They get to the paint and execute very well and they defend well. We’re Excited to have an opportunity to advance and to play a quality team like Cyprus.”
No.1 Corner Canyon 83, No. 9 Westlake 53
Corner Canyon, the prohibitive favorite in the 6A tournament, rolled to a convincing victory against Westlake in the second quarterfinal of the day.
“It’s clear they are a great team,” Thunder coach Nate Carling said. “We gave them a real challenge at our place a few weeks ago. We had a tie game with a minute and a half to go (Corner Canyon eventually won 63-57). We got their attention. They were ready for us. They have great length and made everything difficult for us today.”
Jaxson Roberts scored 18 points in the first half for the Chargers and finished with 22 points and six assists. BYU target Brody Kozlowski was 5 of 8 from the 3-point line and added 19 for Corner Canyon (23-2), whose only two losses came in out-of-state tournaments.
Senior Jordan Kroll led Westlake (14-10) with 15 points. Sophomore Symon Sua, who scored 59 points in the first two playoff games, had 11 of his 13 in the second half.
The Chargers got off on an 11-0 run in the first quarter to jump out to an 18-7 lead. Sua scored on a drive to cut the Corner Canyon lead to 20-12 to open the second quarter but the Chargers flexed on a powerful 18-0 run and led 38-12 with two minutes to play in the half. Roberts finished off a 21-6 second quarter for the Chargers with a clever drive for a score with three seconds left his team led 41-16 at the break. Westlake found some offensive momentum in the second half from the 3-point line (7 of 15) and scored 22 points in the third quarter, but continued to struggle to stop the Chargers powerful attack, trailing by as many as 32 points.
“We’ve had a lot of wonderful wins with this group,” Carling said. “They really competed and gave me everything I asked of them all year long. They’re a great group of young men who care a lot about each other and this program. They have great parents and it was a joy to be a part of this group and to coach them.”
Hansen 8, Flinders 4, Hoggan 17, Blanch 2, Clavert 9, Hadley 12. Totals 22 2-3 52.
American Fork (57)
Cuff 14, Wallace 12, Turley 12, Rawson 9, Hucks 6, Webb 4. Totals 16 21-31 57.
Fremont 9 15 7 21 — 52
American Fork 10 16 13 18 — 57
3-pointers: Fremont 6 (Hoggan 5, Calvert); American Fork 4 (Cuff, Wallace, Turley, Hucks).
McManus 2, Adams 2, Kroll 15, Symon 13, Jones 8, Merrill 3, Capell 3, Fausett 4, Phillips 3. Totals 18 7-7 53.
Corner Canyon (83)
Roberts 22, Feroah 7, Lewis 16, Kozlowski 19, Toombs 9, Neibaur 4, Borg 3, Chandler 3. Totals 30 12-14 83.
Westlake 10 6 22 15 — 53
Corner Canyon 20 21 22 20 — 83
3-pointers: Westlake 10 (Symon 3, Kroll 2, Jones 2, Merrill, Capell, Phillips); Corner Canyon 11 (Kozlowski 5, Lewis 2, Feroah, Toombs, Borg, Chandler).