In a second-round game, the No. 6 Lehi boys basketball teamblew No. 11 Box Elder (14-9) out of their building Friday night to earn a trip to the quarterfinals of the 5A state tournament.
The Pioneers (19-5) will next see No. 14 Orem (14-10) for the third time this season as they played each other in Region 8. The Tigers upset No. 3 Woods Cross (18-5) in their second-round contest Friday.
The tournament now moves to Weber State University’s Dee Events Center. Lehi will play Orem Wednesday (March 1) at 2:30 p.m. If they win, they will advance to the semifinals to play the winner of No. 2 Cottonwood (23-1) versus No. 7 Timpview (16-8) on Friday at 8:40 p.m.
The playoff atmosphere was on point as there was a good crowd representing both schools and the home squad was cooking on both ends of the floor to build a complete-team victory.
The Bees scored first but the Pioneers quickly moved in front. The lead got as wide as seven points but Box Elder got a couple of late conversions to draw within 15-18 at the end of the period.
Lehi responded with a 22-10 run in the second quarter to take control of the game for good. The Pioneers were hitting from long distance as well as with spectacular moves around the hoop. Their defense caused turnovers and also made the visitors take shots they didn’t want to take.
Lehi made a jaw-dropping 75 percent of their attempts from inside the arc as well as at the line and were 59 percent overall in field goals for the evening. They had 20 assists on 29 field goals, nine turnovers and nine steals.
Junior guard Cooper Lewis led the offense with 17 points and also had five rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a singleturnover. Junior forward Grayson Brousseau played tough down low and finished with 15 points, five boards, two assists and two blocks.
Senior guard Spencer Anderson added nine points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, while senior guard Braxton Hawkins scored nine with four boards, three assists and a block.Senior forward Preston Varner also had nine points with seven rebounds.
Senior wing Tanner Cook tallied five points with two boards, an assist and two steals off the bench. He explained how the team prepared for this game.
“On Monday, we didn’t know who we’d be playing, so we went over both Viewmont and Box Elder,” he said. “The next two days we focused on one team each practice. Then on Thursday, we went hard on Box Elder.”
That approach apparently worked. “We came out tonight with guns blazing,” the player said. He added that his role off the bench is to knock down threes when he gets open, share the ball and play tough defense – in short, the same things that every player on the team is supposed to do.
“This win feels amazing, but now we have to focus on the next one,” Cook said. “We have to keep our eyes on the prize.”
Coach Quincy Lewis had a succinct summary of what went well for the Pioneers. “We played,” he said. “I thought the boys had an excellent outing. During a stretch when we only had a couple of games in a couple of weeks, they did a great job of staying focused in practice.”
Noting that the Bees were a big, physical group, he said, “That’s a good team and they gave us their best shot in the first quarter. We handled it and continued to defend really well. We got contributions from everywhere and our transition game was on tonight.
“Spencer executed really well in transition,” Lewis said. “Braxton was assigned to defend a guy who’s really difficult to stay in front of and did a fine job.”
As for the next opponent, “We’ve seen Orem twice,” the coach said. “I’m not surprised they won their game tonight, but we’ll be ready to go. It will be fun to play up there.”