Pleasant Grove boys basketball honors McAllister, blows out Lone Peak
For those who have watched Pleasant Grove boys basketball over the last couple of decades, there was something fitting about the way things came together Friday night.
Before the game, dozens of former and current Vikings gathered to honor head coach Randy McAllister for securing his 300th win with a victory in mid-December. A new banner commemorating the achievement was unveiled at Valhalla, the Pleasant Grove gym.
Then McAllister’s current Viking squad went out and crushed long-time rival Lone Peak, blasting the Knights, 81-64.
“The Lone Peak-Pleasant Grove rivalry goes back a long ways,” McAllister said. “This was a great way to start region play, facing a quality team and coming out with the W. The boys handled playing in front of a big crowd well and executed the game plan.”
He smiled when asked about the recognition and said it was amazing to see so many former players.
“They did a great job keeping it secret,” McAllister said. “It’s one of the most touching things any coach could ask for, to see the faces of his players and hear about how they are doing. This is a longevity award. I’ve been around 20 years and had great players, great coaches, great administration and great fans. I came to Utah with no idea about what it would be like and I landed at a great school.”
Pleasant Grove and Lone Peak have had some amazing battles over the years, including games where fans had to arrive hours early if they hoped to be able to squeeze into the gyms.
This, however, was not one that resulted in much drama.
The Vikings never trailed, although the Knights stayed close enough to be dangerous for the first half.
It was the third quarter where Pleasant Grove was able to pull away. The Vikings put together an 11-2 run to go up by double digits.
“We talked at halftime about rebounding,” McAllister said. “Lone Peak had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half so we couldn’t keep giving them multiple chances. We did much better in the second half of keeping them to one shot, and then we also did well at running them off the 3-point line. They can go on runs quickly when they get hot from outside.”
Lone Peak had a couple of opportunities to regain some momentum and narrow the gap, but couldn’t make the plays.
After a Knight steal for a breakaway layup to cut the Pleasant Grove lead to eight, a Lone Peak player picked up a technical foul for taunting and the Vikings hit both free throws.
In the fourth quarter the tables were reversed when Pleasant Grove picked up a technical foul and Lone Peak hit the foul shots to make it a nine-point game — but the Knights couldn’t convert the ensuing possession into points and the Vikings pulled away again.
“I’m still learning about this team and seeing it grow,” McAllister said. “It was a very different team than we thought we would have but their growth has been phenomenal. There are no egos. They play really well as a team.”
The Vikings (11-3, 1-0) next play at American Fork on Tuesday while Lone Peak (8-3, 0-1) hosts Skyridge the same evening.
Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.