Taylorsville • As Ashley Baugh took the court, American Fork fans cheered loudly for their senior star who was playing for the first time in two months.
But there was no mistaking who led the Cavemen to a victory in the 5A state tournament that was Cassidy Fraughton, the other senior who has been churning away in Baugh's absence. Fraughton scored 22 points to help push American Fork to a 53-37 win over pesky Cottonwood on Monday afternoon.
"She does everything: She's a stat-filler," American Fork coach Corey Clayton said. "We had a game a couple weeks ago when she was out, and it was clear we missed all the things she does. She's not just a point scorer. She does other things, too."
Add to that list: defender, rebounder, vocal leader. Fraughton helped push the Cavemen's defensive intensity in the first quarter, when American Fork outscored Cottonwood 12-1. When the Colts started finding answers on offense, she bit them back with steals for transition baskets and steady shooting.
But Fraughton wasn't a one-woman wrecking crew. Contributions from her teammates helped free up her. Cottonwood attempted to pay her special attention with a box-and-one defense, but eight points by Maile Richardson and eight points by Bryanna Adams helped keep the Colts honest.
Of course, there also were seven points by Baugh in her return to the court. The Utah Valley University signee was more effective, however, on the defensive end. She got into passing lanes and contributed a few blocks.
Clayton acknowledged his 6-foot forward still isn't fully healthy, but he was hopeful the game was a stepping stone on her road to recovery. Fraughton just was happy to have her teammate back in any capacity.
"We need her length and just her energy," she said. "It's great to have her back."
For American Fork, the game did not wrap up in as convincing fashion as it started. That was in part to the 18 personal fouls the Cavemen racked up as they tried to implement pressure.
Cottonwood's Kari Uncles also gave American Fork problems from long range and beating defenders off the dribble. Uncles had 12 points and teammate Nicole Kristensen had 11, doing much of her damage from the free-throw line.
It's a concern the Cavemen will have to work on against Fremont on Wednesday.
"We just got reachy," Clayton said. "We just gotta not reach. We've got to be able to put pressure on them without fouling."