Prep boys' basketball: Lone Peak routs American Fork
Orem • It will be a play they'll talk about when they're old and can no longer play the game they love the way they do now.
Up 34 points late in the third quarter over their rivals, Nick Emery, TJ Haws and Eric Mika connected for a brief three-second span that brought the crowd at the UCCU Center in Orem to a roaring apex in Lone Peak's 75-38 win over American Fork on Thursday evening.
Bringing the ball up court on a fast break as he so often does, Emery saw the play before it happened. He peeked up to see a streaking Haws knifing toward the hoop. The "hockey assist," as Haws calls it, was delivered with ease. It was there in his hands the moment the Lone Peak junior noticed a trailing Eric Mika.
He immediately popped the ball skyward and for a brief second looked up in awe as the Knights' center rose high above the rim and delivered an emphatic exclamation point on the end of this chapter of the American Fork-Lone Peak rivalry.
"Nick always gets the hockey pass," Mika said, shaking his head. "Once Nick beat his man, I did the math."
The equation ended in a rousing ovation from the 2,500 spectators inside the Utah Valley University gymnasium.
"When we're banging on all cylinders," Haws said, "we're pretty good."
They're not just pretty good they're the best.
Currently ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps.com, the Knights, now 20-1 and Region 4 champions, made it a point of emphasis to come out and put a chokehold on the Cavemen from the very tip after struggling early on the first time around against American Fork.
Lone Peak held American Fork to eight first-half points on three field goals.
"This is the time of the year where we really come together," said Emery, smiling despite a swollen upper lip suffered in a collision in the third quarter.
If that's the case, Class 5A beware: The Knights aren't joking around. They mean business.
Mika led all scorers with 19, while Haws chipped in 15. Emery and senior Conner Toolson had 11 points apiece in the runaway win over the Cavemen.
Afterward, Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis could only chuckle when asked just how much fun this team and this coaching staff is having as the No. 1 team in America.
"I'd like to have more fun," he said, "but I sweat it out on the bench."
While the Knights have two more Region 4 games remaining on the docket Feb. 15 at Lehi and Feb. 19 at Bingham Thursday's relentless execution on each side of the ball only furthered the notion they're more than ready to defend their 5A state crown.
"We're realizing just how close to the end it really is," said Mika. "We want to finish this thing off right."
Storylines Lone Peak 75, American Fork 38
R The Knights run away with the win after leading by 30 at halftime.
• Eric Mika puts up a game-high 19 points.