OREM — Lone Peak's basketball team isn’t what it was last year, but the Knights still have a chance to be pretty darn good.
Lone Peak finished off play in the Great Western Shootout Saturday night with a 71-63 win over rival and tournament host Orem, giving the Knights a 2-1 record in the three-day event.
Losses were practically unheard of for last year’s team, which won a national championship. Gone are standout players Eric Mika, Nick Emery, Talon Shumway and Conner Toolson, and new faces are working hard to replace them.
One player who is back, however, is TJ Haws, who dominated play Saturday night. Against a strong Orem team, the senior guard finished with 29 points on 11-17 shooting from the field and seven steals.
It would've been a standout game for most, but it was just another day in the office for Haws, according to Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis.
“That was more of the TJ we know,” Lewis said. “He’s been a little banged up, but he got it rolling tonight and he’s just so tough to handle once he gets it going.”
Haws scored 22 of his team’s 34 points in the first half, doing damage from behind the arc and driving the lane. The Knights entered the half up 34-24.
“He was lights out,” said Lone Peak guard Frank Jackson. “So you just feed him the ball — feed him the ball and he kept coming through.”
Jackson finished with 13 points and did most of his damage in the second half.
Jackson, a sophomore, had a bit of a coming-out party over the last three days for those curious as to why BYU offered him so early. The Cougars extended an offer to the 6-foot-1 guard last September — an offer that he readily accepted.
Throughout the three-day tournament, Jackson showed extraordinary quickness and athleticism that has his teammates and coaches giddy about his prospects.
“We’ve only had him (in our program) for a month and a half. And for him to be where he’s at is impressive,” Lewis said. “That little guy has a long way to go and he’s going to be a lot better. He’s going to be a lot better when we’re done with him.”
As for his team in general, Lewis liked some things, but feels there’s a lot to work on moving forward.
“Sometimes they need to be kicked in the butt a little bit and play some defense,” he said. “It’s fun to teach them and it’s going to take a little patience and take a little while. ... But I think we have a chance to be a good team if we continue to commit to playing defense.”
Orem had a rough time overall — losing all three of its tournament games, albeit to tough competition. The Tigers were led Saturday by senior guard Cooper Holt, who scored a team-high 26 points in the loss.
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