OGDEN The debate about Lone Peak's place in high school basketball state history can officially begin.
A day after its thrilling double-overtime win over undefeated Davis, the Knights followed it up with a convincing 67-53 victory over Bingham Saturday at the Dee Events Center putting the finishing touches on back-to-back 5A state championships.
"All the hard work paid off," said Lone Peak's Josh Sharp. "We knew we had to work that much harder because we were going to have a target on our backs all year."
With the win Lone Peak joins Rob Cuff's Mountain View Bruins of 1998 and 1999 as the only two 5A teams to go back-to-back.
Realistically, the outcome was never in doubt. Even though Bingham hung close, trailing by only two after the first quarter and tying it briefly at 14-14 in the second quarter, Lone Peak was just too good 24 hours after escaping with a win over Davis.
"It was just a matter of having enough juice in the tank to get this one done," said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis.
Lone Peak shot 50 percent from the field and enjoyed a 36-18 scoring advantage in the paint. That difference demonstrates just how much Lone Peak 6-foot-11 center Justin Hamilton has improved this year. He finished the game with 10 points, six rebounds and a school record 10 blocked shots.
He was instrumental in holding Bingham leading scorer Ben Clifford scoreless until the third quarter and limiting him to just seven points for the game.
"Anyone who would've seen Justin the first game of the year against Provo, and then that game right there wouldn't have known it was the same guy," said Lewis. "He was sensational, they really had a hard time getting anything going in the paint."
Just about everyone who stepped on the floor for Lone Peak was sensational Saturday, especially tournament MVP Tyler Haws.
The junior finished with a game-high 22 points a day after burying the game-winner against Davis. Particularly impressive was his 14-of-14 shooting from the free throw line against the Miners. After missing the front end of a one-and-one early in the first overtime against Davis he finished the state tournament by making 19 of his next 20 free throws.
Four straight free throws in the third quarter ended any hope of a Bingham comeback. With 4:43 remaining in the third quarter, Haws extended Lone Peak's advantage to 40-23 by making a pair of intentional foul free throws and two more for the resulting technical foul.
The Knights never led by less than double digits the rest of the way, finishing the game shooting 26 of 34 from the free throw line.
"This game is a lot mental, you just have to fight through it and get your rest and play as a team, and I think we did that tonight," said Haws.
Bracken Funk added 14 points for the Knights, while fellow starters Sharp and Kimball Payne each chipped in with eight points.
Bingham was led by Remington Peck's 12 points, with teammate Blake Krahenbuhl adding 10. Lone Peak's size, however, was just too much to overcome as Bingham only shot 32 percent for the game."We ran into a buzz saw. We ran into an unbelievable team with unbelievable players with a great coach. Those kids need to be sure to compliment their coach because he's given them great opportunities," said Bingham coach Mark Dubach.