Prep boys' basketball: Lone Peak overwhelms Pleasant Grove
Pleasant Grove • Uncle.
That phrase was no doubt circling in the minds of those inside a packed Pleasant Grove High School on Tuesday night as the Lone Peak Knights, the No. 1 team in Utah, suffocated their Region 4 rival with their typical star-studded style of play.
It was a conventional outing.
Nick Emery picked many pockets. Eric Mika dunked a lot. TJ Haws broke down defenders with his crossover and nailed mid-range jumpers and the Knights, all of them, defended.
To no surprise, the Knights dominated nearly every second of their 78-43 win over Pleasant Grove, the second-best team in Region 4, holding the Vikings nearly 25 points under their scoring average.
"I thought we were really ready to play from the get-go against a team that is very good," Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis said. "The challenge for us is coming prepared to every game."
Going on a 40-11 run in the first half of your first road region game is coming out more than prepared. Emery scored a game-high 27 points, while Haws and Mika pitched in 21 and 17, respectively.
Throughout the night, the Viking student section shouted chants in an attempt to weasel its way into the minds of the Lone Peak players. When Pleasant Grove held a 5-4 lead early in the first quarter, an "overrated" chant began.
"We definitely get up for it," Mika said about dealing with opposing crowds.
The Knights proved, as they so often do, they're the opposite of overrated.
Already up 44-16 at halftime, Lone Peak went on a 16-3 run in the third quarter, highlighted by eight points from Emery, who once again proved to be the best player on the floor.
"Sometimes the best defense ever devised against Nick is coach Lewis," Lewis said. "He was razor-sharp tonight. It doesn't get any better than him."
And if the Knights (13-1) didn't have enough incentive to continue dominating opponents in the Beehive State, Jazz forward DeMarre Carroll was in attendance to see Lone Peak handcuff a Viking team that has won 11 games so far this season.
"That's what's going to win us a state title in the end," Emery said, "is defense."
Pleasant Grove was led by Forrest Pincock, who finished with 14, and Riley Court, who added 13.
Up next for Lone Peak is its annual rivalry game against American Fork on Thursday night at the UCCU Center at Utah Valley University. Aside from the traditional rivalry story lines, Emery needs just 10 points to become the all-time leading scorer in Lone Peak boys' basketball history.
"He's not going to score again," Mika scoffed.
Emery responded to his teammate.
"It's a great honor," he said, "but winning is my favorite thing, and that's all I care about."
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