After a slow start, the Lehi boys basketball team scored 45 points in the second half and continued to play tough defense to achieve a 68-58 victory over Riverside Polytechnic in the quarterfinal round of The Classic at Damien on Thursday (Dec. 28) night.
This was a closer game than the final numbers make it look asthere was still just a four-point margin with 42 seconds left. The Pioneers scored the final six points on free throws to make the win look more comfortable than it was. The team overall was 18-of-20 (90%) at the line for the night.
The contest was also a personal tour de force for senior guard Cooper Lewis, who tallied 39 points including five triples and set a new school record by converting 12-of-12 at the line along with making seven rebounds, four assists and a steal.
After a quieter night the day before, Lewis was not initially the focus of the opposing defense, but he got their attention quickly by scoring 10 points in the first quarter as Lehi took a 16-8 lead. He was closely guarded for the rest of the night but simply dominated by making some really tough shots.
After that initial shelling, the Bears made adjustments and were able to tip the momentum in their direction for most of the second period. The Pioneers had just a one-point advantage going into the break.
The action went back-and-forth after that, with multiple ties and lead changes. It was 44-all as the clock was running down at the end of the third quarter when senior forward Cy Hansen got a rebound after a missed Riverside free throw.
He sent the ball downcourt to senior wing Easton Hawkins, who passed it on to senior guard Bryson Bromley. He sank a trey as time expired to give Lehi a one-basket margin entering the final period. The Pioneers never trailed again.
Senior forward Grayson Brousseau netted 14 points on the night and Hawkins added seven points, five boards, four assists and two steals along with his assignment to defend the opponent’s top shotmaker.
Senior forward Gabe Cowan had five points with five reboundsand three assists. Hansen gathered three rebounds and Bromley made three assists. The team once again survived foul trouble with the deep bench.
“We didn’t start out quite ready to go against a good-shooting team that runs their stuff well,” said Coach Quincy Lewis. “We came out with some fire in the second half and got contributions from a lot of different players to earn this W.
“Bryson’s three at the end of the third quarter was a big shot,” he continued. “Easton didn’t have his best offensive game, but he held their leading scorer to six points.”
Tonight, Lehi takes on Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro CA) at 8 p.m. in the semifinals. The Huskies are 15-2 on the season. The winner of that contest advances to the bracket championship on Saturday.