Orem • The Lone Peak Knights know they’re always going to get the other team’s best shot no matter what.
They got that from the No. 1-ranked team from Colorado on Friday night at the Great Western Shootout as Utah’s top high school team beat Denver-East 73-54 at Orem High School. It wasn’t like last year’s runaway victory over the Angels — an 84-58 throttling — but Lone Peak had to work for this double-digit win.
“It was definitely more difficult than we expected,” said Lone Peak senior guard Nick Emery, who had a team-high 22 points, including four 3-pointers. “We played well, we got up and down and gutted out the win.”
Not many teams “gut out” a 19-point win against one of the best teams in the West, but Lone Peak had its hands full with Denver-East guard Dominique Collier, who had a team-high 22 points and was a thorn in the side of the Knights’ defensive scheme.
“They shot the heck out of that thing,” said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis. “That is a good team.”
In control of the game for most of the first half, the Knights endured a run by the Angels in the third quarter when Denver-East cut the lead to six points, 49-43. Lone Peak responded with an 11-4 run behind Emery and center Eric Mika, who had 15 points. Junior guard TJ Haws finished with 17 points in the win.
“I was really proud of our team,” Lewis said. “We took their best shot and still got them pretty good.”
While Lone Peak’s main trio did its usual damage, it was Emery’s aggressiveness on the offensive end that helped quell a number of runs by the Angels. Emery and Collier, who guarded each other for most of the night, traded baskets throughout the evening, each wowing the crowd with their offensive arsenal.
“My teammates were getting me the ball, and I felt it,” Emery said.
Now the Knights get a shot at redemption against 4A Orem on Saturday. The Tigers upset the Knights 57-51 in the tournament a year ago, but Lewis said it’s no different than any other game.
“Our guys will be ready to go,” he said. “It should be a good showcase for Utah basketball.”
Great Western Shootout
Noon • Bountiful vs. Basha (Ariz.)
1:35 p.m. • South Sevier vs. Foothill (Nev.)
3:30 p.m. • West Jordan vs. Denver East
5 p.m. • Lone Peak vs. Orem