LEHI — Skyridge put an emphatic statement on the race for the Region 8 girls basketball championship on Friday, running all over visiting Wasatch for a 59-39 win. The win puts the Falcons squarely in the driver's seat for a No. 1 seed out of the region with just one game to play in the regular season.
Winners over Wasatch in a close game back on Jan. 18, the Falcons left little doubt on the course of Friday's game, using active defensive pressure and sharp-shooting from behind the arc to secure the 20-point win.
"We really wanted this one and (my players) just really played together," said Skyridge coach Khalil Sikander. "Tonight they were a team. They played for each other, made the extra pass, boxed out defensively, and all the little details."
The Falcons were good throughout most of the game's 32 minutes but were undoubtedly at their best during a game-defining second quarter.
After rebounding from a slow start to trail 11-10 after one quarter, the Falcons looked down in a big way on defense, allowing just four points to take a 27-15 lead into the half.
"It was just game-planning and making sure we take the right girls out of the game," Sikander said. "And then mixing up the defense and getting (Wasatch) confused because they're a motion-offense team. So if you get them off-rhythm, then they struggle."
Efficient and timely 3-point shooting worked in concert with the shutdown defense to get out to a double-digit lead at the half. Three straight 3-pointers from Grace Beeston, Skylee Gray and Marisa Bowman ended the second quarter scoring from the Falcons, with Bowman beating the buzzer with hers.
Wasatch found a little more rhythm offensively during the third quarter, but the Falcons didn't let their foot off the gas, outscoring the Wasps 18-12 in the quarter to build a commanding 45-27 lead heading into the game's final 8 minutes. From there, the Falcons rolled with the lead never seriously threatened throughout the final quarter to come away with a big win.
"We teach them that it's either a 3-pointer or a lay-up," Sikander said. "If you shoot anything other than a 3 or a lay-up, then I'm probably going to take you out of the game. … We don't have a big girl to throw it down to, but we have four or five girls that can knock down a shot if they're open."1 comment on this story
Knocking down the most shots for Skyridge in Friday's win was Bowman, who finished with a team-high 13 points, followed by Kylee Holland's 11 points and Gray's 10 points.
With the win, Skyridge improves to 17-2 overall, but more importantly 7-2 in Region 8 play to tie Wasatch for first place. But due to having beaten the Wasps twice on the season, the Falcons will secure the No. 1 seed should they get past Timpanogos, which is winless in region play, in the final game of the regular season on Tuesday.