A subtle defensive adjustment made all the difference for Lehi’s girls basketball team on Tuesday night against Westlake.
Down five at the half, Lehi made a point of increasing ball pressure with its switching defense, and it altered the entire complexion of the game.
Westlake’s offense struggled to generate anything offensively in the second half until the irrelevant final minute as Lehi ran away with the 48-37 victory in an important Region 3 clash.
“We were switching everything, but in the first half we were switching but there was no ball pressure on the switch,” said Lehi coach Sean Seastrand.
“So one of the things for us was we started switching, what we call switching up, meaning as soon as we switched they were right back into ball pressure and it sped them up a little bit so they didn’t really have a lot of space and they had to beat us off the dribble.”
Seastrand called it a minor tweak, but it was the catalyst to Lehi outscoring Westlake 28-12 in the second half, including holding the Thunder to just three points in the third quarter and four total field goals in the entire half.
The win gives Lehi a two-game cushion over Westlake for second place in Region 3, something coach Seastrand said his players should take a lot of pride in.
“Especially with our first year in 6A in a really, really good region, we want that. In these community games, we want to show out that we’re here, and we’re a good program. We’re not going to come into 6A and roll over and find our way, we’re here to compete,” said Seastrand.
Lehi still has an outside shot at the region title as well if it can upset Lone Peak next week, a team it lost to by 35 points a couple weeks ago.
“We still control our destiny with that, and that’s one of our goals, is to compete for (a) region championship,” he said.
Addy Scrivner did the damage offensively for Lehi against Westlake, as she scored 14 of her game-high 21 points in the second half.
She converted a couple of key buckets in the third quarter to get Lehi’s offense on track, because coming out of halftime, its offense was in a rut just like Westlake.
Neither team scored in the first four minutes of the third quarter until Scrivner finally buried a 3-pointer to cut Westlake’s lead to 25-23.
McKinly Faux tied the game 25-25 at the 2:07 mark on a layup. Shortly after, Westlake finally had a positive offensive possession as Avery Thompson drained a jumper at the 1:45 mark for her team’s first points of the quarter.
Scrivner responded with a 3-pointer that gave the Pioneers the 28-27 lead, their first since the first quarter.
From there it was all Lehi.
Over the next seven minutes, Lehi went on a 10-1 run before the Thunder finally converted another bucket with 2:23 left in the game.
By then, Lehi’s lead had already swelled to double digits as Westlake’s late flurry of seven points in the final minute was much too late to matter.
Lehi finished the region sweep of Westlake with Tuesday’s win after winning the first game 52-49.
Seastrand expected a much closer game in the rematch but was thrilled his team pulled away comfortably.
“I think that score is not truly indicative of how close we are, we match up really well with them,” he said, “but always we’ll take a double-digit win over anybody.”