Eric Mika knew it was coming, but he didn’t know exactly when his famed Lone Peak Knights officially would be crowned national basketball champions.
So naturally the 6-foot-10 senior, who will play at Brigham Young University this fall, opened his Twitter app Monday morning to check his timeline, and sure enough he saw a plethora of tweets. The Knights, after winning their third straight Class 5A crown and posting a 26-1 record, were named the 2012-13 national champions by MaxPreps.com.
“I definitely appreciate it a lot more looking back and just how hard we worked,” Mika said.
The Knights took the country by storm with their quick, in-your-face style of play that propelled them past some of the country’s top high school programs. They won nine of their 10 national tournament games, ending a 61-game win streak by Chester (Pa.) and throttling Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) by 35 points on national TV on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We knew for all intents and purposes that we were going to be national champs once our season ended,” Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis said, “but today is still special to see it’s been made official, to see that all of our guys and their hard work has really paid off.”
The Knights are the first team in any sport from the Beehive State to be honored as national champions by MaxPreps.com. Lewis said the recognition is the final piece to the puzzle the team set out to achieve last August, when he told his group it was setting out to achieve something no team in Utah had done.
“It shows you maybe what is possible,” Lewis said. “It’s not easy, and you have to have a lot of great things go right, but it is possible.”
Lone Peak’s postseason run
Round of 16 • Defeated West Jordan 90-53
Quarterfinals • Defeated Davis 84-50
Semifinals • Defeated Brighton 53-27
Championship • Defeated Alta 72-39