LEHI The Lehi boys basketball team stayed just a couple of steps ahead of Wasatch in its 66-56 win on Friday night.
Really, the Pioneers should have stayed further ahead than that, but they outshot and outrebounded Wasatch by enough that the mistakes they made didn't come back to punish them.
Instead, led by 15 points and six assists from point guard Corey Smith, Lehi cruised into Christmas vacation with a win.
"I thought we played defense and rebounded pretty well," said Lehi coach Craig Gladwell. "We let their pressure make us go faster than we needed to go. When we got them settled down I felt we took the game back under control."
Early in the game Wasatch had some success getting to the basket on offense, creating some good scoring opportunities. Midway through the first quarter Lehi stepped up its interior defense and limited the Wasps' ability to drive and pass in the paint. From that point, Wasatch's offensive production went way down and the Pioneers dominated on rebounds.
For the game, Lehi beat the Wasps on the boards 30-18, and Wasatch's inability to create easy shots showed on the scoreboard as the Pioneers gradually pulled away.
"In the first three or four minutes we let them get to the glass a lot," said Gladwell. "After that I thought we were pretty good."
Lehi had a four-point lead after the first quarter and pushed it to 11 by halftime.
Even with the lead, however, poor free throw shooting and sloppy turnovers kept the Pioneers from putting the game away.
The lead hung around 10 points until Wasatch made a run to open the fourth quarter. Jeff Tukuafa scored a layup that cut the spread to 49-43 with just over five minutes left.
From that point Tyson Henderson hit back-to-back jump shots, followed by a Will Walker layup that pushed the lead back to double digits.
After that the Pioneers hit their free throws and didn't let the Wasps make another run.
Smith scored eight of his 15 points in the closing minutes while Wasatch only managed two field goals down the stretch.
"We got sloppy," Gladwell said. "We've just got to get better at playing a complete game. We can't play the other team's game."
Jacob Obioma had 12 points and eight rebounds for Lehi, while Henderson added 11 points, all in the second half.
Mike Pelo led all scorers with 19 points for Wasatch. Trevor Bamgartner chipped in 11 points for the Wasps.