Pleasant Grove • When the game is on the line, it doesn't matter who takes the last shot for American Fork. For a team filled with leaders, everyone is ready to step up and toe the line to the line.
American Fork was able to hold off Pleasant Grove 50-48 in a regional showdown that featured strong defense and physical play Tuesday. The Cavemen were led by Maile Richardson's 13 points, but Erin Bergeson provided the spark that held off the Vikings' late-minute run.
"Erin had her best game tonight," American Fork coach Corey Clayton said. "She picked up her defense and was able to make stops when we needed them. She even got some big points for us."
Bergeson was held scoreless for the first half but contributed by making stops and getting the ball into Richardson's and Megan Eliason's hands. She came alive in the third quarter, dropping two buckets from the perimeter that stretched American Fork's lead.
"Pleasant Grove is a physical team, and I knew that if we got the ball to our shooters we would win this," Bergeson said.
The Vikings made a last-minute push with McKenna Miles draining a long 3-pointer with 34.7 seconds left. American Fork exited a timeout with a one-point lead, and Jaylee Shepherd managed to get to the free-throw line for a crucial point. She sank one to double the lead.
"I trust everybody to do their job, and I knew we had it after Jaylee made that shot," Bergeson said.
Shepherd finished with 12 points.
Clayton described the Region 4 matchup as a game of runs. While the lead only changed hands three times, both teams were able to dominate for stretches.
"It was a team effort for us," Clayton said. "There are six players that can led this team any night, and I am glad that we are able to hold them off."