Payson 63, Lone Peak 60
HIGHLAND — Payson coach Dan Lunt may think people will call him crazy for saying his team still has room for improvement.
After watching his No. 5 Lions hold off Lone Peak, 63-60, Wednesday night at Lone Peak to move to 7-2 on the year and 2-0 in Region 6 play, people may say he has only a little to improve on instead of a lot.
His team's defense was solid, and the players' shooting came through when it needed to.
"Right now, it's the chemistry of the kids playing together," Lunt said of his team's success. "I think we're a pretty good team right now, but I think we have the capabilities — if we want to go where we want to go — of being a great team."
At times the Lions showed just that in the three-point victory.
"Throughout the game, we built the lead three or four times, and they (the Knights) answered, and we answered back," Lunt said. "That's a credit to our kids that in those situations they are able to answer the bell and find a way to win."
The Lions built comfortable leads like 11-3 fueled by two hoops by Brady Buys and a 3-pointer by Alan Marvin midway through the first quarter. Then they went up 24-13 with five minutes left in the second when Skyler Crouch, who scored a team-high 21 points, scored three straight Payson baskets to start the quarter.
"He's just a constant. I know what we can get out of Skyler. He's the same game in and game out," Lunt said. "If he gets the ball anywhere near the bucket, he's going to finish it off."
The Knights, who trailed 29-21 at halftime, chipped into the Lions' comfort zone as they went on an 11-5 run to start the second half and cut the lead to two at 34-32 with 4:33 left in the third quarter.
Taylor Risher, who finished with 14 for the game, had four points in that run, as did Tyler Yearsley.
After the Lions, who beat the Knights in both region contests last year, hit one of two free throws, Lone Peak's Sam Burgess, who finished with a game-high 24 points, narrowly missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game. They would score only five points ing the remainder of the quarter, while the Lions hit 11 points (four by Crouch) to balloon the lead back to nine at 46-37.
Burgess single-handedly kept the Knights (4-5, 0-2) in the contest by scoring eight straight points over the first four minutes of the final quarter before the Knights' final spurt came with less than two minutes to go when Risher converted a four-point play to pull Lone Peak to within six with 1:29 left. They got as close as two at 60-58 on another Risher 3-pointer, but the Lions hit 3-of-4 foul shots in the final seconds to hang on.
"They hit some tough shots down the stretch," Lunt said. "You have to give Lone Peak a lot of credit. They played until the end. Fortunately for us, we knocked down some free throws to get out of here with a win."
Behind Crouch, Buys added 13 points, and Jeff Bailey had 12 for the Lions, while Chase Palmer added 11 points for the Knights.
BOUNTIFUL 58, EAST 42: Bountiful's Ben Murdock and Matt Blood combined for 27 points as the Braves topped East.
WEST 78, WOODS CROSS 60: Woods Cross' Brock Beck exploded for 24 points, but it was West who came out on top.
CYPRUS 61, HIGHLAND 50: Cyprus' Clayton Osborn led the way with 17 points, and teammates Lance Ellett and Monty Rogers combined for another 25 as the Pirates topped Highland.
PROVO 50, SPANISH FORK 46: T.G. Wesley scored 16 points for Provo, which led by seven until the last second.
PLEASANT GROVE 58, SPRINGVILLE 44: Pleasant Grove's Derrick Turley led the way with 17 points, and teammates Colt Sampson and Jake Honey each added 10 as the Vikings topped Springville.
TIMPVIEW 77, AMERICAN FORK 68: Kyle Roberts led Timpview to the win with 21 points.
MURRAY 76, OLYMPUS 75: The Titans' Brandon Miller missed a jumper as time ran out to give Murray the win. Parker Thomas scored 23 to lead the Spartans.
WEST DESERT 69, TINTIC 40: Andrew Alder scored 18, and Kaleb Murphy added 16 as West Desert rolled over Tintic.
BEN LOMOND 68, PARK CITY 37: Terrance Washinton had five three pointers as he and Casey Doolan scored 17 each in the Scots' easy win.
UINTAH 84, OGDEN 61: Uintah's Derek Sutton and Jordan Brady each had 20 points as the Utes upended Ogden.
LEHI 62, TOOELE 60: Dustin Thacker scored the game-winning layup with three seconds to go for Lehi.
LAYTON CHRISTIAN 62, DUGWAY 49: Josh Percifield scored 28 points for a Layton Christian School record and a win over Dugway.
GUNNISON 60, NORTH SANPETE 53: Aaron Harward scored 12, and Casey Dyreng had 14, but Gunnison won the game at the line, hitting 12 free throws to North Sanpete's three.
ST. JOSEPH 64, WENDOVER 57: St. Joseph's Orlando Barela led the way with 18 points, and Todd Schwartz added 14 as the Jayhawks edged Wendover.
CLEARFIELD 55, VIEWMONT 37: Viewmont's Tina Johnson netted 10 points, but it was Clearfield who came out on top.
LAYTON 50, SKYLINE 43: Skyline's Carly Walton netted 21 points, but it wasn't enough as Layton's Haley Berlin had 22, helping the Lancers to a win over the Eagles.
DAVIS 54, NORTHRIDGE 29: Davis' Megan Hansen and Lisa Heath combined for 20 points as the Darts ousted Northridge.
LOGAN 80, BOX ELDER 60: Molly Hillyard had 24 points to lead all scorers. Logan built a 14-point lead in the first and never looked back.
MOUNTAIN CREST 52, WEBER 42: Mountain Crest's Kallee Kennington, Lacy Gustaveson, Loni Funk and Ashley Anderson each had 10 points as the Mustangs edged Weber.
WEST 56, WOODS CROSS 54: Woods Cross lost a four-point lead in the last three minutes. Tamika Hardy scored 32 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
MURRAY 77, OLYMPUS 33: Anna Nelson and Monique Pili scored 16 each as the Spartans blew out Olympus.
BOUNTIFUL 56, EAST 37: Bountiful's Nancy Seljaas and Carisse Winegar combined for 25 points and 15 boards as the Braves downed East.
HIGHLAND 54, CYPRUS 52: Highland's Sharee Hendrix netted 19 points as the Rams edged Cyprus.
LONE PEAK 80, PAYSON 15: Lone Peak's Candace Mattson exploded for 23 points, and teammates Lana Sitterud and Jenny Price combined for another 37 as the Knights crushed Payson.
PROVO 61, SPANISH FORK 41: Provo's Kasey Mills exploded for 23 points and six boards, and teammate Sa Apaui added 10 points as the Bulldogs slammed Spanish Fork.
PLEASANT GROVE 56, SPRINGVILLE 41: Pleasant Grove's Jenni Thurston and CC Francom combined for 26 points and 16 boards as the Vikings tied up Springville.
TINTIC 50, WEST DESERT 46: West Desert's Kaydee Allred exploded for 35 points, but it was Emily Carter and her 17 points that helped Tintic to a win over the Hawks.
S.L. CHRISTIAN 64, CHRISTIAN HERITAGE 29: Salt Lake Christian's Alisha Edmund exploded for 22 points, and teammate Nichol Stubbs added 10 points and 18 boards as the Dragonslayers blasted Christian Heritage.