Prep basketball: Lone Peak beats American Fork, 68-59
Orem • The referee called the foul on Lone Peak star T.J. Haws' attempted steal, and the senior guard reacted, looking up into the rafters, then down at the ground. He dribbled the ball past midcourt in frustration, before turning and lobbing the ball to the referee on the baseline, shaking his head.
The game already was in hand for the Knights. They led by nine with under a minute left, and any pulse American Fork may have still had was too faint to feel beating in the spacious Utah Valley University gym.
It was a minor moment in a night Haws scored 36 points to lead the Knights over the Cavemen, perhaps their top challengers in Region 4, 68-59. But it said much about Haws and about the Knights and about how their stranglehold on Class 5A basketball in Utah has remained so tight.
Even when it no longer matters, and the game has been decided, the Knights care about the little things.
"I tried to stay aggressive throughout the game," Haws said afterwards.
That the Knights had an insurmountable lead in the waning moments of the game was due largely to Haws. One game after scoring a Lone Peak-record 40 points in a win over Westlake, the senior guard overwhelmed American Fork with 36, including seven 3s. Sixteen came in a dominant third quarter that saw the Knights turn a six-point lead into an 18-point gap.
"My teammates got me the ball tonight," Haws said. "That was definitely a fun game. The atmosphere was great, they have such a good team and they brought it for four quarters. We had to weather their storms."
The Cavemen entered the game believing they finally could knock the Knights from atop their Region 4 perch. With a talented squad, led by college-bound seniors Ryan Andrus, who had 21 points, and Tyler Rawson, they hoped to bully the team that often has bullied them.
They even stuck with the Knights for a half. But then the third quarter started and Haws stepped onto the floor. He quickly dashed any dreams of an upset.
"We know that and we talked about it," Haws said of the Cavemen targeting the Knights. "That's why we came out with an aggressive chip on our shoulder.
Lone Peak 68, American Fork 59
O T.J. Haws scores 36 for Lone Peak, one game after dropping a team-record 40.
• BYU-bound Ryan Andrus has 21 for the Cavemen in the losing effort.
• Lone Peak takes the upper hand in what could be a tight Region 4 battle.