OREM — One year removed from an early exit in the 5A playoffs, American Fork is making up for lost time.
The Cavemen outscored Fremont 45-14 in the second and third quarters to roll to a huge 85-54 victory and advance to the 5A quarterfinals Tuesday night at the UCCU Center.
“This is a tough group of seniors. They get together before the state tournament and talk about how they want to approach it. I have confidence in them — they know how to play and encourage each other. I thought they did a really good job of getting it together,” American Fork head coach Doug Meacham said.
Fremont got off to a hot start and pushed the ball early to take a 16-10 lead after the first quarter.
The Cavemen locked down on defense in the second quarter and, after forcing a few stops, opened up a 16-1 run to take a 26-17 lead and head to the break with a 33-25 edge.
“The first quarter we didn’t do a good job blocking out. But I thought in the second quarter and second half we did a good job of giving them one shot and getting the rebound. I thought defensively, we did a really good job,” said Meachem.
American Fork came out in the third quarter and picked up right where it left off with a 21-5 run and outscored the visitors 45-14 in the second and third quarters combined to take complete control with a double-digit lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Senior guard Spencer Johnson erupted for a game-high 27 points, including three of his team's 14 treys, and came down with six rebounds to lead the Cavemen in the win.
“He’s always been a consistent scorer for us. Our guys kind of found him and he let the ball kind of find him tonight. He got into an early rhythm and he’s just really good. He can make tough shots and he can shoot in rhythm,” Meacham said.
Both teams finished strong in the fourth quarter with American Fork extending its cushion with a 30-point performance to come away with the double-digit victory and advance to the 5A quarterfinals.
The Cavemen are now set to take on top-seeded Bingham Thursday afternoon at 2:30 pm at the University of Utah.
“You don’t just have to worry about Yoeli in the post, but now, he’s spread out their game. They’re just a well-coached team and they’re solid all-around. But I like how our guys were so focused in this one," Meachem said of the quarterfinal matchup. "It should be a good matchup — I’m excited.”
Ryan Love is a full-time student and has been a part-time sportswriter for Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724