PROVO The Timpview girls basketball team did a disappearing act in the first half of its game against Orem on Friday. It returned to the floor in full force for the second half, however, and cruised to a 48-35 win to remain unbeaten in Region 7.
In the last two quarters, the T-Birds more than doubled their point total for the first half and turned a five-point deficit into a comfortable win. Alexis Kaufusi scored 16 of her team-high 18 points after the intermission, and the Timpview defense came on strong as well, giving Orem more than it could handle.
"I don't know if they thought they were going to come in here and just walk all over Orem," said Timpview coach Kawika Akina. "We're on a winning streak right now, and it might be getting to them a little bit. I just told them we have to step up."
To the Tigers' credit, they did their job in the first half, playing solid defense and executing well to put some points on the board. Post players Emily Julian and Virginia Voeks worked well down low on offense and kept the 6-foot-1 Kaufusi at bay on the other end.
Orem held a 20-15 lead at the break, only to watch it quickly evaporate when Timpview started hitting shots in a hurry in the third quarter.
A quick 9-2 run gave the T-Birds the lead, and once Kaufusi found her rhythm on offense, the lead was quickly pushed into double digits.
"It happens once in a while," said Akina. "Everybody can't be up every game. Today (Kaufusi) was just off and didn't have it till the second half. I think she focused a little more. Everybody stepped up."
Another big contributor was Gabrielle Pinegar, who buried five 3-pointers and accounted for most of Timpview's first-half offense. Akina was also pleased with how his team's substitutes performed.
"We had some girls score off the bench," said the coach. "That's vital for us. Those players coming off he bench give us that second effort and energy and scoring. That was probably one of our best performances from our bench."
With the game slipping away in the second half, Orem had some chances to stay in it, but was hurt by poor free throw shooting. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Tigers missed the front end of a one-and-one three consecutive times, and missed some open looks from the floor as well.
Julian led Orem with 20 points. Kaufusi also had 15 rebounds for the T-Birds and her teammate Chelsea Bridgewater added six points.