Lehi girls basketball keeps rolling, wins at Payson

January 23, 2019

When Lehi head girls basketball coach Aubrey Van Pelt talks about how her Pioneers have put together their current five-game winning streak, she says doing the tough little things has been the key.

“It’s about rebounds, assists, deflections, steals, things that require toughness,” Van Pelt said. “Those are things you have to do on the road because your shots won’t necessarily fall.”

The suffocating Lehi defense was on full display in the latest Pioneer victory, Tuesday’s 49-34 win at Payson. No one in Region 10 has scored more than 48 points against Lehi.

The visitors put the pressure on the Lions, forcing numerous turnovers and missed shots. Van Pelt credited sophomore twin guards Maddison and Macie Warren for leading the way for Lehi with their intensity and hustle but said everyone played a big part.

“Savannah Heaton gave us a huge spark off the bench,” Van Pelt said. “We are pretty deep, so we always have someone who can step up. Everyone stepped up for us on defense.”

Payson started the second quarter with five straight points to take a 10-9 lead, but then the Pioneers took over.

Lehi scored the next 12 points while shutting out the Lions to go into halftime up 21-10.

“That was huge,” Van Pelt said. “That kind of momentum heading into the half helps us tremendously with our confidence. It’s huge to have a shutdown quarter and have the defense spark the offense.”

The home team tried to rally in the third quarter, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers as Payson got to within six points on a couple of occasions.

The Pioneers, however, didn’t allow them to get any closer as they used a 4-point play (a made 3-pointer and a foul) by Macie Warren early in the final period to push the lead back to double-digits.

“That was a big play,” Lion head coach Kris Meek said. “We had opportunities to get the lead under six points but we missed layups and open shots. But we are getting better each game. These girls have been through a lot of adversity, so they know how to fight.”

Lehi was led by 12 points from Savannah Heaton, while sophomore Apelila Galeai added 10 points. Sophomore Sara Rowley led Payson with nine points before she fouled out early in the fourth quarter.

The Pioneers (13-3, 5-1) now gets a week to prepare to host Spanish Fork in a game that could determine who wins Region 10.

“It will be a battle,” Van Pelt said. “It’s probably one of those games that will come down to the last one or two possessions and who does better. These are the games I look forward to and these guys do to. It’s also good for us to have these games as we get closer to the state tournament.”

That titanic showdown is scheduled to take place on Jan. 29 at 5:15 p.m. in Lehi.

Payson (5-9, 1-4) will look to get back on track when it plays at Orem on Jan. 25 at 5:15 p.m.

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