Lehi suffered two nail-biting losses to defending champion Timpview during the regular season, but after a 66-46 mauling of Dixie in the first round of the 4A basketball tournament, it's the Pioneers who now have a shot at the title.
"I was surprised to see that Timpview lost," Lehi's Colton College said. "There's a lot of really good teams here, so I guess you always have to be on your game."
Lehi, for one half at least, was certainly on its game.
The Pioneers jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before Dixie heated up. The Flyers cut Lehi's lead to four by halftime, but two quick buckets by College and a three-point play by Dustin Draeger fueled a 18-3 Pioneer run to open the second half.
After a dull first half where they scored only 23 points total, Lehi sprinted to a 27-point third quarter to seal the victory. With unselfish play as the catalyst—the Pioneers assisted on 18 of their 26 field goals—Lehi ran Dixie out of the gym.
College owned the paint, scoring 25 points and hauling in 13 rebounds for the Pioneers. He provided a physical presence that Dixie couldn't answer, while Zach Stanley and Ryan Christofferson led the break. Stanley finished with seven points, four rebounds, eight assists and four steals, while Christofferson added six points, seven assists and two steals.
"Our intensity was really good in the second half," College said. "We came out slow, and I'm not sure if it was just nerves or the late start time or what, but we didn't start well."
For Dixie, Ryan Collins put out a spectacular shooting display, hitting four 3-pointers from a variety of spots and finishing with a team-high 20 points. Seth Lasater chipped in nine points and two assists in the loss.
Lehi, which is one of the smallest teams at the tournament, faces a date with one of the largest teams in Sky View. The Bobcat front line features two players—Grayson Moore and Don Corbell—who are at least 6-foot-4, while Ty Nielsen stands at 6-foot-2.
A size disadvantage, though, is something the Pioneers have dealt with all year.
"Sky View has a lot of size, and we're going to have to keep them off the boards if we want to stay in it," Lehi coach Craig Gladwell said. "We just half to play our game and we'll be fine."
The Lehi-Sky View game will tip off at 2:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon at Weber State University's Dee Events Center.