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Lehi downs Carbon in star battle

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Lehi's Tara Asay, front, has her shot blocked from behind by Carbon's Morgan Warburton on Tuesday on the Pioneers' homecourt.

Lehi’s Tara Asay, front, has her shot blocked from behind by Carbon’s Morgan Warburton on Tuesday on the Pioneers’ homecourt.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

LEHI — Two of the top players in prep girls basketball battled for supremacy in Region 8 on Tuesday, and Michelle Harrison took charge in the second half to lead Lehi to a 74-69 victory over Carbon.

Both teams came into the game undefeated in league play, and the Dinos (12-4, 3-1) appeared poised to upset the No. 3 Pioneers (13-2, 4-0) in Lehi territory. Carbon led for three and a half quarters but couldn't hold on down the stretch.

Harrison and Carbon's Morgan Warburton didn't disappoint in their first meeting of the year.

"You always hear big-time players show up in big-time games," said Lehi coach Michael O'Connor, "and both of them showed up tonight."

Warburton took charge in the second quarter, scoring 14 of her team-high 26, and Harrison stepped it up in the third, knocking down 14 of her 29 points. Harrison also grabbed 12 rebounds and swatted three shots.

Carbon went to the boards early and used a mixed zone defense to fluster Lehi's high-powered attack, taking an 11-10 lead at the end of the first. Tristen Sunderland kept the Pioneers in the game with seven points, including her first of three 3-pointers.

The second quarter belonged to the Dinos and Warburton, as the referees let both teams play. Neither team reached the penalty in the first half.

Warburton knocked down three of her game-high five 3-pointers, including one at the buzzer that gave Carbon a 35-27 halftime lead.

The Dinos held Harrison, who averages 21 points per game, to seven points in the entire first half.

"We had to execute the offense better," said O'Connor of his team's first-half effort. "We were making shots, but we weren't putting pressure on the defense."

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He wasn't too concerned with the half-time deficit, however, noting, "We've been down before, and that hasn't been a problem."

In the second half, Harrison hit two of her three 3-pointers. Sunderland added seven points in the quarter, including a last-second jumper for the Pioneers, who tied it up twice but couldn't cut into Carbon's halftime lead by more than two points in the third. The Dinos charged into the fourth quarter with a 54-48 advantage.

"Sunderland made a lot of big shots," said O'Connor.

Sunderland also added six assists in the contest, behind teammate Kayla Burningham's nine dishes.

Lehi hit 8-of-10 free throws in the final quarter, including 3-of-3 by Sunderland when she was fouled on a 3-point attempt that gave Lehi a three-point lead with two minutes to go. Carbon's Brittany Pollastro was tough inside, grabbing rebounds and racking up 17 of her own points before fouling out with 1:18 remaining.

Harrison scored her final eight in the fourth quarter to record a 22-point second-half effort.

"She wasn't in places where she should be catching the ball in the offense (in the first half)," said O'Connor. "But she made herself more available in the third quarter. Both teams had a lot of kids making shots, and that made any kind of defense hard to play."

Andrea Durrant added 12 for the Pioneers.