Top-ranked Lone Peak continues to lay waste to Utah opponents

2 months ago Daily Herald

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Lone Peak's Shawnee Nordstrom (3) dribbles to the basket against Westlake in a Region 4 girls basketball game on Friday, January 27, 2023.

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Lone Peak's Sarah Bartholomew (45) wins the tip at the start of a Region 4 girls basketball game against Westlake on Friday, January 27, 2023.

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Lone Peak's Kailey Woolston (11) shakes hands with a teammate during introductions before a Region 4 girls basketball game against Westlake on Friday, January 27, 2023.

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Lone Peak girls basketball coach Nancy Warner (kneeling) gives instructions to her team during a Region 4 girls basketball game against Westlake on Friday, January 27, 2023.

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Westlake's Aysha Torkornoo takes a free throw against Lone Peak during a Region 4 girls basketball game on Friday, January 27, 2023.

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Westlake's Jada Willis (4) is introduced before the start of a Region 4 girls basketball game against Lone Peak on Friday, January 27, 2023.

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The Lone Peak pep band plays during a Region 4 girls basketball game against Westlake on Friday, January 27, 2023.

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This season, the Utah High School Activities Association adopted a “mercy rule,” where if a team is leading by 30 points going into the fourth quarter the clock continues to run.

The top-ranked (Class 6A) Lone Peak girls basketball team knows the rule well as they tear through Utah opposition. The Knights got off to a great start on Friday and finished with a 65-32 rout of Region 4 challenger Westlake, their seventh straight victory.

Lone Peak is 10-0 against Utah teams and has won those ten games by an average of 37.8 points. Its closest contests came against 5A defending champion Springville (20 points) and Friday’s 23-point win against Westlake.

“I think we just try to stay focused on our main goals every single day,” Knights coach Nancy Warner said. “No matter what the score we’re just trying to get better each and every day. We’re playing every minute trying to own every possession, trying to remember what we can do for each other as a team and to keep growing together as a team and not settle for anything.”

Lone Peak returned four starters from a team that went 23-0 last season and won the 6A state championship, beating a star-studded Fremont team that was the favorite.

This year, the Knights are not so much hunting as they are the hunted. Warner took her team to several out-of-state-tournaments to amp up the competition, going 3-3 against great teams from around the country.

“That was super helpful for us,” said senior Kailey Woolston, who has signed with BYU. “That exposed our weaknesses so coming back into the state and being able to work on those weaknesses is good for us. One big thing is we’re focusing on ourselves and staying focused on our goals to get better every day.”

Lone Peak charged out of the gate against Westlake and led 14-0 at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter, with seven points from point guard Makeili Ika. Chloe Jensen finally got the Thunder on the board on a 3-pointer with 2:55 left in the period. The Knights made four triples in the first eight minutes and Woolston’s third make beyond the arc gave the home team a 22-5 lead going into the second quarter.

Lone Peak made five more threes in the second, including back-to-back shots from Shawnee Nordstrom for a 41-8 lead with 3:00 left before the half. Nordstrom beat the buzzer with a drive and score in the lane and the Knight claimed a 47-15 lead at halftime.

Woolston (12 points), Nordstrom (12 points) and Ika (10 points) all reached double figures in the first half.

Leading 56-27 entering the final quarter, baskets by Naia Tanuvasa and Ika and five points from Nordstrom pushed the lead to 38 points, 65-27, which necessitated the running clock.

“We’ve really focused on our defense and different defensive schemes,” Warner said. “We want to be able to play ball screens differently and play different types of defenses, then focusing on how that translates into our offense. We can fine tune those things to be more efficient so we can play different ways.”

Nordstrom led Lone Peak (5-0 Region 4, 14-3 overall) with 17 points. Woolston and Ika had 14 each and Sara Bartholomew added 11. The Knights continue Region 4 play next Tuesday at Pleasant Grove.

Jensen finished with 15 for Westlake (2-3, 13-5), which will host Skyridge next Tuesday.


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