SALEM — If practice really does make perfect, then the lack of practice makes for, well, something else.
Fortunately for the Lehi boys basketball, ample practice secured a 60-45 win over Salem Hills on Wednesday. The game featured balanced scoring for the Pioneers, although it was a stingy defensive effort, particularly during the second quarter, which overwhelmed the Skyhawks.
“Honestly, it’s just being able to put in the practice necessary,” said Lehi Quincy Lewis, who has engineered some of the top high school teams in state history while coaching at Lone Peak. “We had to quarantine for COVID for about two weeks at the start of the year, so we’ve been working to catch up since, and tonight — it was a real good win for us.”
The Lehi defense showed well from the start, and led out to a 16-7 lead for the visiting team after one quarter of play.
But as good as the defense was in the first quarter, it proved even better through the first six minutes of the second. While Lehi managed 12 points through the first six minutes of the second quarter, it held Salem Hills to just a single point, which equaled a commanding 28-8 lead with just under two minutes left until the half.
“Again, it was just our practice time which we poured almost all the practice time into working on our defense,” Lewis said. “We just weren’t sharp starting the season. We have guys who can score the ball, but it’s getting our defense where it needs to be has been the biggest challenge. But we’re getting there, and you saw that tonight.”
Indeed Lehi had to shut down all team activities for the first two weeks of the season, according to Lewis, who is in his first year coaching at Lehi after serving as an assistant coach at BYU and administrator at Timpview. Like most coaches, the COVID pandemic has led to unique challenges which the Pioneers are still working their way through, along with just about every other program.
“It’s been a huge challenge for me and everyone else, but we’re doing the best we can with all of it,” Lewis said.
As mentioned, the game also featured balanced scoring from the Pioneers, with Noa Gonsalves and Peter Amakasu each scoring 13 points with Grayson Brousseau and Tyson Hawkins each adding 11.
“It makes you hard to defend when you have multiple guys who can score,” Lewis said. “We’re an unselfish team and I like our makeup. I like our players and feel we have a lot of potential. We’re working hard to gobble up as much practice time as possible after losing about 11 practices to start the year.”
Salem Hills was led by Rome Simonsen who scored a game-high 18 points.
With the win Lehi improves to 7-2 on the year while Salem Hills drops to 2-5 with the loss.