He’s fun to coach. He came out really focused and ready to go. He’s been in so many big games and been on the big stage so many times, and you could really see that experience in a game like this. —Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis, on TJ Haws
OREM — Even when his shot isn't on, Lone Peak’s TJ Haws is as tough as they come.
When his shot is on? He’s almost unstoppable.
American Fork learned that lesson the hard way during Lone Peak's 68-59 win over the Cavemen Tuesday night at the UCCU Center in Orem.
The Knights' senior guard was dialed in from the start and confounded the Cavemen with 36 points on seven 3-pointers.
“He’s fun to coach,” said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis. “He came out really focused and ready to go. He’s been in so many big games and been on the big stage so many times, and you could really see that experience in a game like this.”
Haws’ best work came in the third quarter.
With Lone Peak clinging to a 36-30 lead at the half, Haws engineered an 18-4 run that gave his team a commanding 54-34 advantage with just more than two minutes remaining in the third quarter. He tallied 16 points during the run, which included three 3-point buckets.
"I just tried to let the game come to me in the third quarter and that's when it happened and when I took my opportunities," Haws said. "I try just to stay aggressive throughout the whole game."
The Knights ended the third quarter with a big 57-39 lead and were seemingly primed to coast to victory.
The Cavemen had other plans.
An 8-2 run to start the fourth by American Fork cut Lone Peak's lead to 59-49 with just more than four minutes remaining. Sophomore Brendan Bailey keyed the run with two 3-pointers.
"They're a good team and when you're in a rivalry game nobody's quitting," Lewis said. "They have good players one through five there."
American Fork continued to cut into Lone Peak's lead and closed to within seven points, 61-54, with just more than three minutes remaining.
At that point, the Knights employed a four-corner type offense to run time off the clock and preserve the lead. The tactic worked and they left with the nine-point win.
“That was definitely a fun game,” Haws said. “The atmosphere was crazy and that’s just a really good team. They brought it at us for four quarters.”
American Fork was led by Ryan Andrus, who finished with a team-high 21 points. Most of the senior center's production came in the first half, as Lone Peak limited him to just six points in the second half, including only a single point in the third quarter.
“We weren’t very happy with our post defense in the first half,” Lewis said. “Partly that’s them doing a good job and partly that’s us not doing what we talked about. But I thought we had that one really good quarter where we locked it down defensively.”
Lone Peak received key contributions from both senior guard Zach Frampton and sophomore sensation Frank Jackson. Frampton filled up the box score with 10 points, eight rebounds and five steals, while Jackson contributed 15 points.
“They’re so good and (Frampton) does things that I don’t think most notice on the defensive end,” Haws said. “Frank is so tough and gets after it on defense and comes up with big baskets when we need it.”
With the win, Lone Peak improves to 10-2 on the year and 2-0 in Region 4 play. Next up for the Knights in a home game against Pleasant Grove next Tuesday.
American Fork falls to 7-5 overall and 0-1 in Region 4 play. The Cavemen will travel to take on Herriman this Friday.