Prior to their Class 1A-District 7 boys basketball semifinal game with Springville Feb. 25, Lone Tree head coach Tom Squiers worked on how to defend Springville’s full-court pressure defense in practice with his team.
“We really worked on our press break the last two days,” said Squiers. “When we ran it the correct way, we shot lay-ups, but like any press it starts to wear on you a little and we turned the ball over in some key situations as the game went on.”
Springville’s press led to key runs in building a pair of double-digit leads as the Orioles topped Lone Tree, 71-62.
The Lions handled Springville’s pressure nicely in the first quarter leading the majority of the opening stanza. Cory Krueger and Keegan Edwards scored the game’s first baskets. An Edwards 3-pointer from NBA range gave Lone Tree a 9-5 lead. A Harmon Miller trifecta (block, steal, lay-in) kept the lead at four. Springville stayed close though and would tie it at 16 by quarter’s end.
Springville’s last two points of the first quarter led to their first big spurt to start the second quarter. The Orioles converted missed shots and steals off the pressure defense in a 14-0 spurt that gave them a 28-16 lead. Kyle Koppes drained two 3-pointers in the run. Alex Koppes and Rhenden Wagaman each added a pair of baskets.
Krueger stopped the run with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Alex Koppes hit a 3-pointer to get Springville’s lead back to double-digits before Lone Tree countered with their own double-figure run to tighten the contest. A Cale Yoder putback started a 10-0 run that cut Springville’s lead to two at 31-29. Yoder tallied half of Lone Tree’s points in the spurt.
A mini Springville run of 8-0 extended their lead to 10 by halftime at 39-29.
Lone Tree came out shooting in the second half. Tyler McCullough drained two 3-pointers and Alex Viner followed with another to trim the Orioles’ lead to four at 42-38 three minutes into the second half.
Springville followed though with their second massive run. A 14-3 spurt gave them a 56-41 lead and they would take a 59-45 lead into the final quarter.
Lone Tree would not go away though. Yoder scored Lone Tree’s first six points of the stanza to pull the Lions within 10 two minutes into the final quarter. Despite his short stature, Yoder knows how to play big inside.
“Cale had a great game. He is the most fundamental and under-rated post in the area,” said Squiers. “He has great foot work and uses his ball fakes well to get open shots, plus he is really strong in there.”
Yoder added two more putbacks in the quarter to finish with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Lone Tree continued to cut into Springville’s lead, trimming to six on a pair of occasions, but the Orioles hit key baskets to keep the Lions at bay and held on for the nine-point victory.