After surrendering seven 3-pointers to Skyridge in the first half, Westlake coach Michael O’Connor had a message for his team at halftime.
The Thunder listened and held the Falcons without a 3-point field goal in the second half, rallying from a nine-point halftime deficit to claim a 58-48 Region 4 win on Friday in Saratoga Springs.
“He came into the locker room at halftime and actually told us we had to be determined not to let them shoot 3s,” Westlake junior Halle Hester said. “That stuck in everyone’s mind. I know it stuck in mine and I was like, ‘I’m not going to let them make any more threes.’”
Westlake led 14-12 after the first quarter but Skyridge put on a shooting exhibition in the second to seize the lead. Kylee Holland had three triples in the second period — she had five in the first half — and the Falcons outscored the home team 19-8 to take a 31-22 lead at halftime.
“They got challenged in the locker room,” O’Connor said. “The effort in the second half defensively was the difference. We worked on that. It was all about getting Skyridge off the 3-point line. The first half it didn’t work but it did in the second. The girls did an awesome job.”
Hester sparked Westlake offensively with three straight scores to start the third quarter and the Thunder were right back in the game. A rebound basket by Brielle Bastian allowed Westlake to tie the score at 36 and the Thunder opened the fourth period with a 9-2 run, getting points from five different players. Kymberly Perry’s rebound basket pushed the Thunder lead to seven, 45-38, with 3:54 to play and Westlake was never headed.
The Thunder allowed just 17 total points in the second half.
“In the end, it was all about effort,” O’Connor said. “Skyridge tries to get threes in so many different ways. They drive and kick, they weave, they roll … you’ve just got to be determined to not give it up. In the second half, we were determined not to give it up. That was the kids. They just responded to what happened to them, mostly in the second quarter. So credit them because they played so hard.”
Paige Payne added 10 points for Westlake (5-3 Region 4, 17-3 overall) with Susan Fano and 6-foot-3 sophomore Jill Lundgren had nine each.
The victory avenged a 10-point loss to Skyridge in Lehi earlier this season.
“I think the deal was we wanted to win as a family,” Hester said. “The last time that we played them we didn’t play together, we played individually. Playing as a team and a family made us all come together. This win means so much.”
Ally Blackham led Skyridge (6-3, 15-5) with 17 points but missed a critical portion of the second half with foul trouble. Holland finished with 15 points for the Falcons.
Westlake goes to American Fork next Tuesday and finishes Region 4 play at home against Pleasant Grove on Friday. Skyridge travels to Lone Peak on Tuesday and concludes the Region 4 schedule at home against Lone Peak.