Fort Myers, Fla. • The Lone Peak boys’ basketball team fell behind early and wasn’t able to find its usual stroke from long range in a 66-45 loss to Montverde (Fla.) in the City of Palms Classic championship game Saturday.
Montverde (11-0) proved to have too much depth and size in the paint with seniors Dakari Johnson and Devin Williams in the post. Johnson and Williams combined for 22 points and 17 rebounds. Johnson blocked four shots.
Lone Peak (10-1) was behind 39-22 at the half after shooting 5 of 16 from long range and 8 of 28 from the floor over the first 16 minutes.
The Knights were able to get open looks but couldn’t connect, which put them in an unfamiliar hole in this week’s tournament.
"We got sped up early, and it took us a little while to adjust to the big guy inside," Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis said. "He does a great job of protecting the rim for them. But once we settled down, we played pretty well."
Lone Peak cut the lead to 11 twice in the third quarter but couldn’t get it down to single digits against a suffocating Montverde defense.
Lone Peak senior Nick Emery was kept in check by Florida-bound guard Kasey Hill. Emery went 3 for 13 from the floor and 2 for 8 from behind the 3-point line for eight points. It was his lowest scoring output in the tournament.
"Our plan was to have Kasey Hill immediately pick up Emery in the backcourt," Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said.
"That way he couldn’t push and get quick fast breaks and kick it up to shooters, especially [T.J.] Haws. We had D’Angelo [Russell] find Haws in transition immediately. We wanted to find Emery and find Haws."
T.J. Haws was the high man for Lone Peak, with 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the floor and 3-of-8 from 3-point range.
"Give them a lot of credit," Haws said. "They played really well tonight. They shot the ball well, and they played really good defense. They’re a very good team."
Lone Peak gets a break before its next game. The Knights host Riverton on Jan. 9 — a break of 17 days — before jetting off to the Brandon Jennings Invitational on Jan. 12.
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