HIGHLAND — Entering Thursday’s game against rival Pleasant Grove, Lone Peak senior guard Maddy Eaton was averaging nearly 20 points per game, leading 6A in scoring. Eaton lived up to her billing as one of 6A girls basketball’s premier players on Thursday night, scoring 17 points to lead the Knights past the Vikings 54-44 at Lone Peak High School.
“She’s a great player, she’s smart on both ends and she really is just a leader out there for us," Lone Peak head coach Nancy Warner said of Eaton. "She’s always huge, she’s key for us, and everyone really stepped up and she got everyone together around her and we were able to finish out as a team."
Lone Peak took control of a back-and-forth game at the end of the third quarter, going on a 10-0 run from the end of the third quarter until 3:20 left in the fourth quarter.
“I think our girls just finally buckled down in the fourth quarter to really get some stops on the defensive end, and once that happened, we were able to convert and then really be patient,,” Warner said. "Once we were patient, we were able to get what we wanted offensively."
The Knights locked down defensively in that stretch, which led to opportunities on the offensive end. Lone Peak allowed just six points in the final period. In the second half, the Knights were able to stop Pleasant Grove senior Sadie Nixon, who had an excellent first half, scoring 11 points. Lone Peak held her to just two in the second half.
“I think it was just the focus on the defensive end," Warner said. "We made some adjustments that they were able to execute and then we converted on those, which really helped us."
For much of the fourth quarter, Lone Peak controlled the ball, passing it around for long periods of time, draining the clock until the Knights found the perfect shot, allowing Lone Peak to hold off Pleasant Grove for the win.
“When we’re in the state of Utah, there’s no shot clock, so you can pull it out and really let the clock run out and when it’s on your side, we want to make sure that we use that to our advantage, so we definitely slowed it down when we did have the lead and tried to extend the game that way,” Warner said.Comment on this story
The key stretch in high school basketball is right now, and teams all over the state don’t have much room for error. Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove have just four more games to go in the regular season. The regular season concludes with the two rivals playing aeach other on Feb. 12 at Pleasant Grove.
“Right now, we just need to get better every day and show up for games," Warner said. "We’ve played everybody once and now we’ve got them for the second time. We just need to make sure that we’re focusing in on what we need to do and make sure that we’re playing hard every day. Consistency and getting better."