COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS It shouldn't have been that easy.
When No. 2 Lone Peak prepared itself for a road game at fourth-ranked Brighton, the Knights expected a tough, grind-it-out, down-to-the-wire battle. As it turns out, most of the starters were comfortably sitting on the bench cheering for their back-ups for much of the fourth quarter as Lone Peak ran away from the Bengals for a 79-64 victory.
"Not at all," answered Knights coach Quincy Lewis of whether he expected his team to so thoroughly dominate. "I thought we would come out better than the other night, and I think they probably missed some shots they would usually make. We knew they were a good team and that we needed to come in prepared to play. Our guys really came in focused and played the way they are capable of playing."
One player that performed at his capability was Tyler Haws. The reigning 5A MVP scored 29 points to lead the way for the Knights. For such a dominating player, however, Haws does not dominate the basketball. His shots came within the flow of the offense, or when he got out on a fast break, such as his second bucket of the game, where he stole the ball and went in for a thunderous dunk.
"Tyler plays exactly how we want all the guys to play," added Lewis. "He does his job."
From the opening moments, Lone Peak was the better team. Brighton fought hard to keep it competitive, but there was always the feeling that the game could get away. Lone Peak would get up by five to eight points, and the Bengals would fight back into it. They even pulled back to within two points at 25-23 with just over two minutes to go in the half, but Lone Peak closed on an 8-2 run to lead 33-25.
Lone Peak did most of its damage inside. The taller and deeper Knights pounded the glass constantly. Some of the team's best offense came from misses. The team had 12 offensive boards in the first half alone and finished with 21.
"We have size, which helps," said Lewis of his team's prowess on the glass, "but we also practice that."
Brighton continued to hang around until about the midway point of the third quarter. With Lone Peak leading 43-35, the Knights ended any doubt in the outcome with an 11-2 run to close the third up 54-37. The lead ballooned to as many as 23 in the final period before the Knights called off the attack.
While the guards didn't do much scoring for Lone Peak, Lewis credited the play of Kimball Payne and Dillon Smith for one of the major reasons the team played so well. To go along with Haws' big night, Bracken Funk chipped in 16 points, and Nate Austin added 10.The Bengals were led by Ali Langford's 22 points and Jace Tavita's 15.