SANDY Tyler Haws is no stranger to free throws, having shot them in his own words "a million times."
Faced with a one-and-one situation, and Lone Peak clinging precariously to a two-point lead, he tried not to think about what was on the line while he was at the line.
"You try and not make it any different," Haws said. "Just go up there and knock them down."
Haws converted both free-throw attempts with 14 seconds left and lifted the Knights past Alta 53-49 on Wednesday night at Alta High. The junior guard finished with 17 points to help Lone Peak to its sixth straight win over an instate opponent.
Those game-clinching free throws helped make up for a mistake by Bracken Funk seconds earlier, which nearly proved costly. Funk hit two free throws in a one-and-one situation of his own with 26 seconds left, making it 51-47, only to turn around and foul Alta guard Zach Runia on a 3-point attempt at the other end.
Runia hit two of three to close it to 51-49.
You couldn't blame Funk for fouling him in the final seconds. Alta prevented Lone Peak from walking away with another easy non-region win largely because it enjoyed a soft touch from the perimeter all night long.
The Hawks converted 41 percent of their 3-point shots. Taylor Brown proved particularly dangerous from that range. Brown, who finished with a game-high 21 points, hit four 3-pointers in the first half to rally Alta from an early deficit.
Every time Lone Peak threatened to pull away, Brown seemed to have an answer. One 3-pointer cut into 10-5 first quarter advantage for the Knights. Another put the Hawks on top 18-17 with 5:20 left in the second quarter.
His final make from the perimeter helped Alta close to within 48-44 with 2:33 left in the game. And it left Lone Peak feeling sick about its perimeter defense.
"They hit too many threes on us tonight," Haws said.
While the Hawks held the advantage outside, Lone Peak dominated around the basket. Josh Sharp, Funk and Justin Hamilton dominated the glass to the point where Alta had difficulty getting more than a single shot on most possessions.
It helped them. But Knights coach Quincy Lewis thought the Hawks scouted his team well enough to negate such advantages and attack their weaknesses.
"They really executed their game plan and they shot the heck out of the ball," Lewis said.
Lewis said his team did just enough to escape with a victory, but showed they are far from being the dominant team they were forecasted as before the season began. He thinks they can expect more games like this one, not fewer, in Region 4.
"We're going to have kind of games in our region without a doubt," Lewis said.