We did a great job at taking away what their strengths were and forced them to play our style of basketball, and our kids are pretty good when they do that —Payson coach Dan Lunt
PAYSON — By the pregame introductions alone, those in attendance could sense a dominating performance from the home team. Payson dominated the play from start to finish Tuesday night, taking an impressive 73-47 win over cross-town rival Spanish Fork.
As the Payson players were introduced, the gymnasium lights were dimmed and the Lions' mascot entering center court on a motor-bike — revving his engine as every Payson player was introduced. It was the type of spectacle common at an NBA game, but certainly uncommon for a regular-season 3A prep basketball game.
It took a few minutes into the game until Payson got revving themselves, however, with Spanish Fork jumping out to a 5-0 lead. The Lions then responded with nine straight points before building a 19-11 lead after the first quarter.
They never looked back from that point.
"I thought defensively from the start of the game that we set the tempo," said Payson coach Dan Lunt. "We did a great job at taking away what their strengths were and forced them to play our style of basketball, and our kids are pretty good when they do that."
The Lions extended their lead by one, heading into the half up 29-20.
The Dons made a bit of a run early in the third quarter before the Lions closed out the third quarter with a 16-7 run, heading into the fourth quarter up 51-35. Payson outscored Spanish Fork 22-12 in the fourth quarter to take the easy win.
Payson was led by guards Tanner Newbold and Clint Bateman, who finished with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Bateman, in particular, had a standout game, controlling the play from his point position on both the offensive and defensive ends.
"He's hard to handle and he's good off the dribble," Lunt said of his starting point guard. "When he gets to the paint, he's a fantastic decision-maker. I'd like to find a point guard (better.) If anyone has any suggestions, then I'd like to hear who is better — because I don't know anyone who is."
Spanish Fork was led by guard Hayden Nielsen and center Kayden Porter, who each contributed 12 points.
With the win, Payson moves to 12-4 on the year, with Spanish Fork dropping to 8-7.