LEHI — A couple of six-spots yielded in the first and third quarters equaled a big 55-39 win for the Lehi girls basketball team over Region 10 rival Spanish Fork on Tuesday. It resulted in a measure of revenge for the Pioneers, who now stand one game clear of the Dons on top of the region standings.
The Pioneers were on point from the start, getting off to a quick 11-0 lead where sophomore Maddison Warren hit two straight 3-pointers.
"That was huge," Lehi coach Aubrey Van Pelt said of her team's fast start. "When you start strong, then you usually finish strong. So you know in the first two minutes if they're dialed in and ready to go."
Spanish Fork settled in defensively from there, holding Lehi to just 15 points for the quarter, but overall only managed six points as the Pioneers got off to a nine-point lead through the first eight minutes. It was a deficit Spanish Fork cut into, but never fully posed a serious challenge to take the win for the game's remainder.
"When (visiting teams) start out with a lead, then they play confident and they get relaxed," Van Pelt said.
As good as the Pioneers were in the first quarter, they were just as good, if not better, in the third.
Holding a 26-19 lead going into the half, Lehi again managed to hold Spanish Fork to just six points through the third quarter to hold a big 39-25 lead heading into the fourth. All players contributed on the defensive end, forcing turnovers and hurried shots, although Van Pelt singled out one player in particular.
"Lila's defense, honestly, that was the difference," Van Pelt said as to what fueled her team in the third quarter, referring to sophomore Apelila Galeai. "In the second quarter, we weren't rotating, and they were getting easy shots … but all the sudden we decided enough is enough and that we were going to shut them down."Comment on this story
The visiting Dons didn't threaten throughout the fourth quarter as Lehi came away with its sixth-straight win and a spot the team hasn't been familiar with in some time.
"It's been 20 years or even 30 years since this program has even been in a region championship conversation," Van Pelt said. "So that's just a new feeling for (our players) and they've just had to trust the work we've put in."
The win gives Lehi a 6-1 record in Region 10 play and in the position of now being the team to beat, after dropping a 46-39 game to the Dons to begin region play back on Jan. 4. Spanish Fork drops to 5-2 in region play with the loss.