Ogden • With Lone Peak's first Class 5A boys' basketball state title since 2008 assured, Knights coach Quincy Lewis took his starters out for one last standing ovation and an endless line of hugs.
For a basketball program that's been dominant throughout the past decade, three years between championships represented a major drought. But on Saturday afternoon, the Knights proved what the rest of the state suspected for the entire season: Lone Peak, with a final record of 24-1, is the best team in Utah.
The Knights, before jubilant supporters at Dee Events Center, defeated American Fork 64-52.
They pulled away with a 16-0 run that turned a 21-13 deficit into a 29-21 advantage, doing so with a 1-3-1 defense.
"We switched because American Fork was so prepared against our man-to-man that we couldn't guard them," Lewis said. "American Fork has seven guys that can play. I just thought that switching would give us our best chance to win."
The results, defensively, were almost eye-popping. The Cavemen scored 15 points in the second and third quarters combined. American Fork received 37 points combined from Marcel Davis and Quincy Bair, both Utah State commits. But the rest of the Cavemen scored only 15.
On the other side, sophomore sensation Nick Emery, the younger brother of BYU star Jackson Emery, scored a game-high 20 points. But where Davis and Bair struggled for help from their teammates, Emery's supporting cast proved to be the major difference.
Talon Shumway scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and provided two exclamation points with thunderous dunks down the stretch. Junior guard Brody Berry scored 10 points, while grabbing nine rebounds and handing out five assists.
"Talon was the key," Emery said. "Him and Brody played so well when it mattered. We knew that we could be successful with the 1-3-1. They didn't seem to know how to break it."
While American Fork missed 21 of its 26 3-point attempts, Lone Peak got out in transition and converted easy baskets. This is the third time this season that the Knights have defeated the Cavemen. In each of those wins, Lone Peak was able to put the game away with a sustained run.
"This feels so good because we've worked so hard to get to this point," Berry said. "All of the workouts, the summer-league games, it's really paid off."
R Lone Peak wins its second state title since 2008.
• The Knights pull away with a 16-0 2nd-quarter run.
• Nick Emery scores a game-high 20 points.
O For photo galleries and video highlights of the 5A and 4A championship games, plus more photos of the 1A championship, visit http://www.tribpreps.com.
V Sports Illustrated made a big splash earlier in the week with a cover story that revealed just how little effort college football programs put into checking the criminal backgrounds of their recruits. It's a fascinating read, and one section in particular should stand out to sports fans in Utah. > http://www.sltrib.com/Blogs/preps