Orem • The Lone Peak student section roared and serenaded its opponents with renditions of various Christmas songs. They hopped up and down while smiling and dancing.
All the while, Lone Peak senior guard Nick Emery kept on playing. He peeked over toward his student section and cracked a smirk. It certainly was an outing to remember as Emery led his No. 1-ranked Lone Peak boys’ basketball team past Orem 56-34 in the marquee matchup of the Great Western Shootout on Saturday night.
“I’ve never met a player who hates to lose more than Nick,” said Orem coach Golden Holt, whose Tigers defeated Emery and the Knights in the 2011 tournament.
Emery’s game-high 25 points were a testament to Holt’s opinion of the crafty guard who dominated Orem from start to finish.
“We really wanted to prove a statement this year,” Emery said. “I believe we did that.”
After a sloppy first half in which the Knights led the Tigers 22-17, Orem guard Quinn Peters knocked down a 3-point shot to tie the game 24-24 midway through the third quarter.
That’s when the Knights had enough. Lone Peak forced seven third-quarter steals and finished the game on a 32-10 run behind the stifling defense of Emery, TJ Haws, Talon Shumway and guard Zach Frampton.
Shumway, who finished with eight points, drew the assignment of guarding Orem forward and BYU commit Dalton Nixon, and the Lone Peak senior delivered a memorable effort, helping to hold Nixon to just two points.
“If you’re giving the game ball, as good as Nick was, you have to give it to Talon,” Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis said.
Shumway was coy afterward, saying that his effort on the defensive end was facilitated through the team’s defense, not anything he did individually.
“It’s my job,” he said. “I’m just glad we won.”
Lone Peak’s defense held what many consider to be one of the top teams in the state to just 10 field goals and 34 points on its home floor. Orem’s Zach Hunsaker led the Tigers with 13 points, while Quinn Peters had 10.
“Ultimately, you have to score points against teams like that,” Holt said. “We didn’t score points.”
While Lone Peak’s defense proved to be suffocating in the second half, the night was Emery’s.
The lefty made sure to eradicate the sour taste left in his mouth from last year’s 57-51 loss to the Tigers.
“He’s what you call a big-league player,” Lewis said about his guard. “When the money’s on the line, he’s the guy you want.”
Storylines Lone Peak rides late run
R The Knights outscore Orem 32-10 after the Tigers pull even at 24-24 midway through the third quarter.
• BYU commit Nick Emery scores 25 points in the win.
• Orem’s Dalton Nixon, a BYU commit, manages only two points.