South Jordan • With a matchup against top-ranked Lone Peak looming, Pleasant Grove's boys basketball team first had to open region in a tough place to play.
The Vikings got the confidence boost they wanted by holding on to defeat Bingham 71-65 in the Region 4 opener for both teams Friday. Riley Court led four players in double figures with a game-high 24 points for the Vikings.
"They're going to be really tough to play, so it's good to start the season off 1-0," Court said about Tuesday's game with Lone Peak. "Everything flowed on offense, and we played a lot better defense in the second half."
Pleasant Grove coach Randy McAllister, whose team improved to 11-3 overall, said it was important to be successful early.
"We didn't want to go into [Tuesday] without a win," McAllister said. "We got an early lead and then went into a funk in the second quarter, but executed much better in the second half. Once we got out of the excitement of playing basketball, we executed much better."
The Vikings led 18-7 in the first quarter before Bingham (9-5) put together a 23-9 run to end the first half. With Pleasant Grove's defense focusing on stopping 7-footer Brandon Morley in the post, the Miners got back into the game with their perimeter shooting. Bingham made 10 3-pointers, including five by Lance Harrison.
But the Vikings seemed to solve their defensive issues in the second half.
"We had backside help on Morley, and they would bring a guy to the top to shoot the 3," Court said. "We finally figured out what they were doing."
Still, the game was up for grabs. Morley's basket gave Bingham a 58-56 lead in the fourth quarter before Pleasant Grove ended the game on a 15-7 run, going 9 of 10 from the foul line during that stretch. The Vikings combatted Bingham's 3s by outscoring the Miners 17-5 on free throws.
"We had to score a few more times because we were getting two (points) and they were getting three," McAllister said. "We took too long to figure out what they were doing to get those looks. The last minute and a half they didn't get those looks."
Matt Conway scored 19 points, while Forrest Pincock and Mark Sheffield both had 12 points for Pleasant Grove. Morley led Bingham with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Jordan Evans had 16 points and McKee and Harrison 15.
Storylines Vikings convert late
R Pleasant Grove goes 9 of 10 from the free-throw line to close the fourth quarter.