The Lone Peak Knights did a pretty good job of making national power St. Anthony play their style of basketball on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Knights, however, they didn't do an equally good job of playing their own kind of basketball.
The team from Jersey City, N.J., out-rebounded the much-taller Lone Peak squad by nine and often forced the Knights to settle for perimeter shots. The Friars used a couple of big runs to defeat Lone Peak 54-43 in the championship game of the prestigious T-Mobile Invitational in Albuquerque.
The Knights might have been in position for an upset had they done their normal job of dominating the paint. And had they been a lot more accurate from outside.
"We did a lot of the things we wanted to do and I thought we played really good defense, but we gave up some key offensive rebounds and just didn't make open shots," said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis. "And that was the difference right there."
The Knights finally started connecting on their outside shots in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points in the period. But Lone Peak still only shot 38 percent from the floor.
The Knights missed their first 11 three-point shots and ended up just 2-for-15 from beyond the arc.
St. Anthony, with patient passing and guard penetration, was able to find the seams in Lone Peak's long two-three zone defense and scored 26 points in the paint. The Friars also pulled down 13 offensive rebounds.
The biggest difference, however, came from the charity stripe. St. Anthony's went to the line 24 times, making 17 free throws to only three for Lone Peak.
"I don't expect to see a zone as big as that for the rest of the year," St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley said, explaining how his team was able to overcome the big height disadvantage.
The Knights, even with a cold-shooting first period, still only trailed 9-8 after one. But the Friars went on a 14-4 run to open the second quarter and built an 11-point lead they held at the half.
Lone Peak stayed within striking distance early in the third before the Friars finished the period on a 7-0 run to take a 41-24 lead into the fourth. The Knights slowly warmed up from outside in the final frame and also began getting a few put-back baskets.When Tyler Haws went on his own 7-0 run, Lone Peak closed the gap to 44-34. A put-back basket by Bracken Funk, who led the Knights with 17, cut the lead to 50-41 with just under two minutes to play but could get no closer.