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WEST VALLEY CITY — It didn't take long for Friday's highly anticipated 5A semifinal between Lone Peak and West Jordan to turn into a glorified 3-point shooting contest.
That was always going to favor defending state champion Lone Peak with its arsenal of future D-1 shooters.
Nick Emery and Talon Shumway each knocked down a pair 3-pointers in the first quarter, pushing the Knights out to an early advantage, a lead it never relinquished in a convincing 68-56 victory at the Maverik Center.
The teams combined to take 55 treys — 28 from West Jordan and 27 for Lone Peak. The defending champs made four more, and those 12 points proved to be the exact difference after 32 hard-fought minutes.
"I don't think the final score indicates what kind of battle it was. That was a high-level game right there," said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis.
Despite jumping out to a double-digit lead midway through the second quarter, West Jordan made several runs at the Knights, who weren't finally able to breathe easy until the final few minutes when a 6-0 run in a span of 50 seconds put the game out of reach.
"We knew that they were No. 1, and we wanted to come out and make a statement that we were the better team," said Lone Peak sophomore T.J. Haws, who had a fantastic game with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists.
With the victory, Lone Peak advances to Saturday's championship game at 4 p.m. against Brighton. The two teams haven't met this year.
West Jordan big man Jordan Loveridge finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, but he had to work for everything he got inside against Chase Hansen. At times the Jaguars were too impatient to work the ball inside, settling for 3-pointers early and often.
Nobody was knocking them down consistently, with the Jags shooting just 21 percent. That helped Lone Peak jump out to a 16-12 lead after the first quarter and then a 36-23 lead at the half.
"That was the goal we wanted to accomplish right when we went out there. We just started rolling once we got in the flow of the game," said Hansen.
Lone Peak initially wanted to attack the basket and get Loveridge in foul trouble, but West Jordan's defense was sagging off the perimeter so the Knights started chucking long-range bombs, burying 7 of 18 in the first half.
"They were giving us shots and we were knocking them down," said Emery, who added 16 points.
Trailing by 13, West Jordan wasn't about to go quietly. It opened the second half on a 7-0 run to cut Lone Peak's lead to 36-30 with 6:34 remaining.
After a timeout, the Knights responded with a 10-0 run to increase the lead to 46-30 with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter. Haws kick-started the spurt with a 3-pointer, finishing with nine points in the third quarter.
"I'm just trying to play my game, play my role and help my team win. If I need to score a little bit more than I'm going to do it," said Haws.2 comments on this story
The Jaguars had one more push in the fourth quarter, opening with another 7-0 run to whittle the lead to 50-43 with 5:17 to play. Emery knocked down a pair of foul shots to extend the lead to 52-43, and then Haws followed with Lone Peak's last 3-pointer of the game — a dagger to West Jordan's hopes for a comeback.
As he often is in big games, Shumway was an unsung hero for Lone Peak. He scored 16 points, more importantly helped box out Loveridge all game, which enabled Brody Berry to collect a career-high 12 rebounds rather easily.
at Maverik Center
Olympus (18-6) vs. Orem (23-1), 1:30 p.m.
Lone Peak (21-3) vs. Brighton (17-7), 4 p.m.
at Sevier Valley Center
Layton Christian (13-9) vs. Bryce Valley (22-3), 5 p.m.