OREM — Lone Peak left no doubt who the best team in the state is Saturday night with a convincing 56-34 win over Orem. The Knights used a big run to close out the third quarter and suffocating defense throughout to frustrate the Tigers and win going away.
BYU commit Nick Emery did his thing with a game-high 25 points, but it was an all-around defensive effort that did most of the work.
"If you would have told me we'd hold Lone Peak to (56) points I would have taken that," said Orem coach Golden Holt. "Defense won the game and ultimately you need to score points against a team like that and we didn't … that's the No. 3-ranked team in the country and what is overlooked is how good they are defensively."
Orem hung tough and found itself tied at 24 until the four-minute mark of the third quarter. Following a timeout, Lone Peak woke up to score the final 13 points of the quarter to lead 37-24 entering the fourth.
The Knights forced seven Tiger turnovers during the decisive run with many of them leading to fast break opportunities.
"We really put it together during the third quarter and that's Lone Peak basketball right there," Emery said. "Defense is our focus this year and that's how we're going to win our games."
Emery led most of the fast break opportunities and capped off the third-quarter effort with a 3-point basket. The game featured a bevy of Division I talent, but it was Emery who stood out and dominated the play on both ends.
"I've never met a player who hates to lose more than (Emery)," said Holt, who has coached Emery in AAU basketball. "He absolutely (and) positively knows he's going to make his next shot. He played with that type of confidence tonight."
Despite Emery's efforts, Holt pointed out that it was Talon Shumway who he would have taken from Lone Peak's team on the night if given the choice. Shumway provided eight points, but his biggest contribution was on the defensive end where he helped hold Orem standout Dalton Nixon to just two points.
"Talon Shumway is just an outstanding defender," said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis. "He moves his feet, he's ahtletic and we gave him that task even though he's undersized. Dalton (Nixon) is a heck of a player, but Talon did a great job on him tonight."
Another big contribution was made by center Spencer Curtis, who subbed in early for foul-plagued Eric Mika. "Spencer Curtis played most of the first half and had five rebounds and had a put-back shot when we really needed it," Lewis said.
"We've played against some of the top teams in the nation and Orem could compete with any of them," complimented Lewis. "Hunsaker is such a smart player, they have tough big guys, poise and they're extremely well-coached. That's as tough of a team as we'll face this year."
With the win, Lone Peak moves to 6-0 on the year and will next take on Viewmont on Wednesday before competing in the City of Palms tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. Orem drops to 2-1 and will next match up against Dixie at home on Friday.
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