Kade Jensen’s 22 points help Payson beat North Sanpete
FINAL: Payson 63, North Sanpete 46
Payson guard Kade Jensen played like a man possessed on Tuesday night to help his team stay perfect in their region.
In a blowout game against visiting North Sanpete (2-5), the Payson Lions (7-0) found offense in their seventh man.
With star guard Clint Bateman coming into the game battling flu-like symptoms, Jensen filled his shoes for the evening by scoring 22 points – 19 more than his season average – on 64 percent shooting.
“I knew I had to come out and play hard and knock down my shots,” said Jensen after the game. “I felt good.”
Good indeed; Jensen hit four three-pointers on the night and snagged five offensive rebounds to help his team rout the Hawks.
Head Coach Dan Lunt’s defense-first mentality is engrained into his team from the starters to the bench players, and it showed against the Hawks in a foul-heavy game. “It all starts on defense,” said Jensen.
In a key moment of the game, with the Lions protecting a double-digit lead in the third quarter, Lunt’s team showed fans a glimpse of how dangerous they can be defensively. With the clock winding down in the third, the Lions forced three turnovers and scored seven points in a 10-second span using their pressure defense. Payson’s strong end to the quarter all but deflated North Sanpete.
When asked about the Lions’ tenacious defensive play, Jensen issued a warning to Payson opponents, “Don’t come mess with us we’re a big defensive team and we’ll come to play hard every single game.”
The win over the Hawks means Payson extends its region winning streak to seven games. They remain atop Region 12 and are one of three Division 3A teams with a perfect league record.
After a nail-biter win over Carbon last Friday (51-50), in which 38 of Payson’s 51 points came from Tanner Newbold and Clint Bateman; The Lions came and balanced their attack against the North Sanpete Hawks.
Tanner Newbold had 12 points and was the only other Lion who scored in double digits. Clint Bateman only had five points, but he dished out a game-high 11 assists. Jamon Lunt and Skyler Rowley pulled down 10 rebounds apiece on the night.
North Sanpete played without two of their starters, seniors Rhett Bird and Colton Dunn who were both out with ankle injuries sustained in previous games.
Friday night the Lions (14-4 overall) will be on the road against the Delta Rabbits in a region rematch of the two teams. Payson won the first go-around 71-55.