The 6A state girls basketball quarterfinals is a good time for a breakout game.
For Lone Peak’s Makeili Ika, Thursday night against the Syracuse Titans was the perfect time to lead her team in scoring.
“Tonight I really saw the lanes,” Ika said. “My coaches always tell me to look for the open lanes, so this game I was looking for it. I was able to overcome my fear of being swatted or being stopped, and took it all the way to the basket.”
Ika had 21 points, to lead the Knights to a 59-46 victory in the Knights’ final home game of the season.
Early in the game she was making everything from the 3-point line, and as the Titans extended their defense, Ika drove to the basket, and abused the Syracuse front court.
“I came out ready to shoot,” Ika said. “I was like, ‘Give me the ball, I’m ready to shot.’ Every time I shot it was going in.”
Lone Peak head coach Nancy Warner was pleased that Ika attacked the Titans defense.
“She took to heart what we asked of her,” Warner said. “She stepped up big time, hitting three 3-pointers and then attacking the basket like we needed her to. She really set the tone for us.
“We want her to keep attacking when she can,” Warner continued. “So seeing those opportunities really helps us, and I’m glad she saw those tonight.”
Ika didn’t do it alone however, Maile Hunt and Naia Tanuvasa each added nine points, while Kailey Woolston and Teuila Nawahine had eight and seven points respectively.
“What a great team win for us,” Warner said. “Our supporting cast really stepped up. Against a team with the fire power that Syracuse has, it took all of us to do our part.”
That Syracuse fire power was able to cut the Lone Peak lead down to five points at 51-46, after Baylee Sanders drained a 3-pointer.
“After they hit that 3 we were able to get a big stop,” Warner said. “The stops were huge for us to carry momentum offensively to be able to carry out what we needed to do.”
Those were the last points that Syracuse scored, as Lone Peak made 8-of-9 free throws to seel the victory, and advance to the state semifinals.
“I’m just ready to make it to the semis and the championship,” Ika said. “Me and my team, we are coming together and talking about how much we want to make it all the way, and doing it for our seniors.”
Lone Peak will face the Herriman, who beat Westlake, 53-50, at Salt Lake Community College on Thursday at 2 p.m.