ALPINE — Playing on the road against the state's top-ranked team, Brighton came out firing. The Bengals scored 11 of the game's first 13 points before Lone Peak even got warmed up.
And then it was over.
The Knights ran off 13 straight points and never looked back, outrunning and outexecuting the No. 2 Bengals en route to a 109-89 win that wasn't even as close as the score indicates.
"Brighton came out really high and hit some tough shots, but we kept our cool and maintained our aggression," Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis said.
"Usually when teams have a big high there's a big low after that, and I think that's what happened."
Nick Emery once again served as the catalyst for Lone Peak's up-tempo offense. The Knights played at such breakneck speed the Bengals resorted to hockey-style substitutions, with three or four starters leaving the floor at a time to get a much-needed breather.
The Knights never slowed down – with Emery in charge, they just kept running.
Equal parts playmaker and ruthless scorer, Emery was far too much for Brighton to handle. When the Bengals played him man-to-man, he found a way to score. When they double- and triple-teamed him, he had even more choices: hit a cutting Jordan Hamilton, who netted 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds, or find T.J. Haws or Talon Shumway spotting up behind the 3-point line.
Everything worked for the Knights, and Emery finished with 31 points — including four 3-pointers and a rare four-point play when he was fouled as he drained a three – to go along with seven assists.
Haws had 18 points and five rebounds, while Shumway, who sat out much of the first half after picking up two quick fouls, dished out five assists and scored all 14 of his points in the second half.
"We like the up-and-down style," Emery said. "We have lots of guys who can run and score, and tonight was our type of game. They came out and were hitting everything, but we hit some shots and had some dunks that helped us take back the momentum."
Brighton's Corbin Miller scored his team's first eight points and continued to hit shot after shot, eventually finishing with 34 points and four 3-pointers. The Bengals' problem was that nobody stepped up to help him. Loi Masina had only eight points and was held scoreless after the first quarter, while ultra-physical center Austin Hudson was rendered mostly harmless both by Lone Peak's transition game and its pinpoint pick-and-roll offense.
"I thought we really shared the ball well," Lewis said. "We got great penetration and were able to kick it out for some open threes, and we were able to run the court and get some easy lay-ups. They had a hard time defending us."
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Brighton was competitive until midway through the second quarter when Lone Peak went on a 13-5 run that started with a two-handed slam by Hamilton and was capped by back-to-back threes from Emery. Lone Peak took a 61-41 lead into the half and the game wasn't close again — the Knights built a 34-point lead before both teams' starters were pulled midway through the fourth quarter.
The teams will play again on Feb. 4 at Brighton, and the Knights are not expecting the same type of result in that game.
"We just got on a roll, it was one of those nights," Lewis said. "I can guarantee you that when we play them up there it's going to be a much different game than this was."