Some of the state’s elite teams weren’t at home for a good chunk of the holiday break, and they’re hoping it will pay off when the state tournament rolls around.
Crosstown rivals Lone Peak and American Fork, in particular, stood out among the pack ,as both went 3-1 in their respective out-of-state contests.
The Cavemen traveled to Mesa, Ariz., for the Visit Mesa tournament and knocked off the first three teams they played. Perhaps most impressively, they beat out Mountain View (Mesa) — a team that almost toppled Lone Peak weeks ago — on its home court. On the final day, American Fork couldn’t keep up with a hot-shooting Corona Del Sol team, as Arizona State commit Calaen Robinson rained down threes.
But coach Doug Meacham said despite the final day letdown, he liked what he saw against some adversity.
“Last year we went to Gillette [Wyo.] and struggled against the zone,” Meacham said. “This year, we struggled a bit too, but we made some adjustments that I liked. I’m just trying to get these guys to keep on the throttle for the whole game.”
There was a scary moment for the Cavement when point guard Marcel Davis was elbowed in the face. He was afraid he had reinjured a fracture he had in the summer, but a medical examination showed that he was fine. Meacham said he’d play in American Fork’s next game.
Lone Peak also had a good run in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the Beach Ball tournament. The definite highlight for the Knights was an upset 72-67 double overtime win over Whitney Young out of Chicago, as Nick Emery and T.J. Haws combined for 55 points and managed to outduel Jahlil Okafor, a top-25 2014 prospect.
The Knights were outclassed the next day against Milton, Ga., in a 70-42 rout, perhaps exhausted from the late thriller the night before.
Brighton went 3-0 on a road trip to Gillette, Wyo., scoring no fewer than 61 points in any game.
St. Joseph earns rare 5A win
How often do you hear about a 1A team beating a 5A team?
It’s the best version of David vs. Goliath the state has got, and the Jayhawks accomplished that rare feat in an overtime 39-38 win over Jordan on Friday night.
St. Joseph did have the advantage of playing at home, but that was hardly all of it. Liz Tomon commanded the boards, scooping up a whopping 19 rebounds. Katie Berry led in scoring with 16 points.
What’s more stunning is the Jayhawks shot only 35 percent from the free throw line — usually a death knell in a tight game. But with the win, St. Joseph has announced its presence as a state title contender.