HIGHLAND — Lone Peak has known for nearly a month that it had won the 2012-13 MaxPreps national high school basketball championship, but on Thursday it was “knighted” with the honor.
The Knights, who finished the year with a 26-1 record that culminated with a 79-36 clobbering of Alta in the 5A state championship, were presented the national championship trophy in front of a packed auditorium.
“On behalf of Lone Peak High School, my basketball team and this community we are just thrilled to have this recognition,” Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis said at the podium after nearly a two-minute standing ovation. “ As we went through this year, you maybe begin with trying to make your team the best team they can be. But it soon became obvious what we were doing was representing our school, our community and our state. Honestly, with the year we’ve had it’s just a reflection of what this community is. I’m proud to be a part of Lone Peak High School and our state.”
Lone Peak finished ahead of Germantown, Wis. (28-0) and Simeon, Ill. (30-3) in the final rankings. The Knights played the toughest ranked schedule in the nation and beat teams from Illinois, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and California. Its only setback occurred in the prestigious City of Palms Tournament championship against Montverde Academy, Fla., which finished first in the USA Today poll.
“That’s an amazing accomplishment. It’s definitely something special and we’ll remember it forever,” Lone Peak junior guard T.J. Haws said. “I think it just shows how hard we really worked this year. It showcases our talent, and we’re very lucky to be a part of it.”
The Knights averaged nearly 80 points per game while maintaining a 26.4 average margin of victory. In its 18 games against Utah programs, Lone Peak outscored the competition 1,347-800.
“It’s a pretty neat deal for it to be here in the state of Utah,” Lewis said. “Having been a guy that’s grown up here and played high school ball here, I think it’s great.”
For Haws, who will join teammates Nick Emery and Eric Mika at BYU, the success of the season still feels surreal.
“I don’t know if it will sink in for a while,” he said. “It hasn’t really sunk for me yet, but I think it will.”
It was the final piece to the puzzle on the best season in Utah high school basketball history, and for Lewis it’s a bittersweet moment.
“I think this might be the last time I actually see these guys all together,” he said. “I’ll be missing these guys pretty quick.”
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