Ogden • Before all the dunks, before all the long-range 3s, before the rabid defense, Quincy Lewis gathered his guys on an August afternoon and told the Lone Peak Knights their main objective.
The goal was to be national champions. But in order to be national champions, the Knights had to win their third consecutive Class 5A championship.
"We didn’t go out and broadcast it to everybody," Lewis said, holding his daughter’s hand after winning his sixth state title with the Highland-based program.
They didn’t need to. They proved it on the court. Time and time again, the Knights, the No. 1 team in the country that now is a lock to be named the 2012-13 national champions by MaxPreps.com, played their game and did so in suffocating, dominating fashion.
"Whatever he wants," Lone Peak senior Talon Shumway said about his coach, "it magically happens. We owe this all to him."
The Knights won the state crown they set out to get in August — their third state title in three years — in typical Lone Peak fashion, defeating Alta 72-39 on Saturday afternoon. Once it was over, the Knights danced. They sprinted toward the jubilant student section and let various Lone Peak students touch the program’s sixth title in eight years.
"To end it like this," senior Nick Emery said, "all the stress is gone about winning."
Because they won 26 of 27 games. Their high-octane, up-and-down play led them to glory, where Lewis envisioned this team when he gathered his guys on that August afternoon.
"Obviously, you have talent," he said, "but you have guys who care about each other. Those two things combined gives you something special."
This team was exactly that.
Despite a lackluster first half in which the Knights didn’t drain their typical wide-open shots, Lone Peak closed it out in style. The Knights disrupted passing lanes, found the open man in the corner and lobbed it up to senior big man Eric Mika.
"I didn’t expect [the season] to blow up like this," said Mika, who had 16 points and 18 rebounds in his final game.
But it did.
"That’s what high school was all about for me," Shumway said.
The Knights ended their season to remember the way they started it. With five starters in double figures. With Conner Toolson splashing 3s, Shumway creating havoc around the basket and TJ Haws wrapping circus shots under the rim.
Someone approached Lewis earlier this week and told him there is "no second place" for his guys. The year, coated in all of its accomplishments and broken records, is over. Dealing with recorders and the bright lights of cameras, being the subject of national stories, momentarily is done for the team to never forget.
"Everybody had the expectations as high as the sky for us," said Lewis, who improved his record as a player and coach at the Dee Events Center to 24-0.
Once the euphoria settled, pieces of the net were snipped, just like the previous two years.
But this was a different kind of year.
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