High school basketball: Size not an issue as Lehi marches into semifinals
OGDEN — Down seven points midway through the second quarter of Thursday's 4A quarterfinal clash with Sky View, something finally clicked for Lehi — its size disadvantage was no big deal.
"The kids finally found a point in the middle of the second quarter where they realized if they ran their offense, 'These guys can't guard us.' That's what they kept telling me," said Lehi coach Craig Gladwell.
His players clearly knew what they were talking about.
The Pioneers turned that second-quarter, seven-point deficit into a 10-point halftime lead and never trailed the rest of the way in an impressive 61-50 victory over Sky View at the Dee Events Center.
"With a little ball movement and a little body movement, we started getting some in-rhythm, wide-open 3s which got us going in the second quarter," said Gladwell, whose team outscored Sky View 18-1 during the decisive stretch.
Sky View clawed to within four points in the third quarter, and then to six in the fourth, but each time the Pioneers responded by pushing the advantage back to a comfortable margin as they finished the game shooting 47 percent from the field.
"We kind of ran out of steam a little in the second (half) and let them make runs. The thing I was pleased with is that every time they made a run, we would answer it," said Gladwell.
Ryan Christofferson and Dustin Draeger scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, to go along with Colledge's 24 points and 10 rebounds. That balance was been a strength of Lehi's all year, and that was again the case against Sky View.
Zach Stanley added seven points, but Gladwell praised his point guard's leadership in the second quarter. He routinely broke down Sky View's defense with his quick dribbling and found his open teammates, as he finished with six assists.
"Zach Stanley is a such good team leader 'cause he doesn't care if he scores if we're scoring," said Gladwell.
Sky View's size advantage appeared to be an issue early in the game, as it jumped out to a 20-13 lead, but it didn't last long.
"We've played against size all year and it's kind of been a hassle for us, but playing with it all year it wasn't that different of a game," said Colledge.
Despite trailing 31-21 at the break, Sky View opened the quarter on an 8-2 run and kept the deficit at single digits until early in the fourth quarter. Lehi finally broke the game open with three straight lay-ups to increase its lead to 48-36 with four minutes remaining.
For Lehi, it will next face Highland in the 4A semifinals on Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The semifinals is a spot many thought Lehi would be in last year, but the curse of being 4A's No. 1 team heading into the state tournament got the better of the Pioneers, as they lost to Highland in the quarterfinals.
Now, they'll get a revenge-minded rematch.