OGDEN Sorry David fans, the Goliath of Utah high school basketball came to this rock fight with a face mask.
Top-ranked Lone Peak opened what many around the state believe will be a weeklong march to an inevitable 5A championship with a 69-47 first-round victory over Fremont on Monday at the Dee Events Center.
As usual, the 20-2 Knights, who haven't lost to a Utah team since the season-opening setback to Provo in November, cruised to the win over the big underdogs with big performances from multiple players.
Tyler Haws scored 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting, Bracken Funk combined for 19 points, nine rebounds and three steals, and Justin Hamilton added 11 points with seven boards. Josh Sharp also had eight points and six boards, while Kimball Payne dished out six assists.
"They have so much balance. They have size. They have a good little point guard. Their guys are so versatile," said Fremont coach Bernie Graziano. "They have guys on the bench that can play ... They're clearly, in my mind, the most balanced team in the state."
With the win, the Region 4 champions advance to Wednesday's 5A quarterfinals to take on West Jordan at 7:40 p.m. in the Purple Palace.
Though it only had three points in the first 6 1/2 minutes and trailed 19-6 after the first quarter, Fremont, Region 1's fourth seed, made things a bit interesting by halftime. In the second quarter, Broc Ballif hit three 3-pointers and Nick Garrett drilled a couple of long balls to get the Silver Wolves (7-15) within four points of the Knights at 27-23.
Haws hit a jumper and two free throws to give Lone Peak an eight-point halftime cushion, but Fremont was thrilled to be within single-digit striking distance at that point.
"I thought that our kids played hard," Graziano said. "I think in the second quarter we started to believe that we had a chance."
That halftime hope came about thanks to 7-for-13 shooting beyond the arc and despite of hitting just 1 of 12 shots closer to the hoop against the height-advantaged Knights.
"We really didn't understand or realize they could shoot as deep as they shot it. Those guys were hitting 23-, 24-footers there," said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis. "So we had to extend our defense a little bit there, stay home on shooters."
Fremont had an open look at a 3 early in the third quarter that went awry, and Lone Peak cruised from there. The Knights scored seven straight to start the half and kept that momentum punishing the Silver Wolves inside and out to build a 19-point lead by the end of the third.
Mitch Newey had a hot hand in the fourth, when he scored all 14 of his points, but Fremont was only able to trim the lead to 17 points against the prep powerhouse.
"Our kids gave a 100 percent and they played hard and I'm proud of them," Graziano said. "And I think they had a good experience despite the final score up there."
Ballif and Garrett added 12 points apiece for Fremont.
It was close for a bit, but Lone Peak which won its final five Region 4 games by an average of 31 points was clearly the superior squad. The Knights outrebounded Fremont 33-20, shot 58.1 percent from the field to the Wolves' 37.0 percent clip and only committed nine turnovers."When you get to this place, you take every win and you run with it," Lewis said. "I thought our kids just kind of hung in there. We withstood the run they made, and we did what we did in the second half."
Game at a glance
Lone Peak 69, Fremont 47
Top performer: Lone Peak's Tyler Haws had 24 points, hitting 9 of 14 shots, 6 of 6 free throws and one sweet tomahawk dunk, to go with his five rebounds.
Key stat: Fremont shot 11-for-24 from the 3-point land, but the Silver Wolves only made 6 of 22 attempts (27.3 percent) inside the arc while Lone Peak shot 58.1 percent overall.
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