LEHI — Every basketball team can use a great closer — a guy who can hit the big shot when it's needed. The Lone Peak boys squad has had a couple of top-notch examples in Jackson Emery and Tyler Haws, both of whom are now playing at BYU.
Since those two weren't available in the closing minutes of Friday night's intense non-region game at Lehi, the Knights looked for someone else to fill the role.
Lone Peak freshman Nick Emery — Jackson's younger brother — stepped up to the challenge.
Emery drilled an NBA-range 3-pointer to tie the contest, then got himself free with seven seconds to play and drained an 18-footer to give his team the lead. When Lehi's final trey rimmed out at the buzzer, the Knights had escaped with the 52-50 win.
"Those were some big-time shots," said Lone Peak head coach Quincy Lewis. "That's a tough situation and Lehi is a really good team. We're fortunate to come out with the win."
Emery led all scorers with 26 points, including four 3-pointers, but none were bigger than his final two baskets.
With his Knights trailing 50-47 and under a minute and a half left in the game, the freshman guard canned a deep bomb to knot the score.
After a defensive stop, Lone Peak worked the clock down to the final 15 seconds and got the ball to Emery.
"At that point, a timeout would've helped the defense," Lewis explained. "You have to let a kid make a play."
The freshman, playing in just his third high school game, made a spin move at the top of the key to get himself the opening he needed to knock down the long jump shot with seven seconds to play.
"When they're that talented on the perimeter, it's hard to double team," said Pioneers' head coach Craig Gladwell. "The kid hit a great shot to beat us."
Lehi had one final chance, getting the ball to junior guard Zach Stanley in the left corner. He stepped past Emery to put up a difficult 3-pointer and, although he'd made three treys in the game, the last one refused to drop.
"It was a tough shot but at that point it was about all he could do," Gladwell said. "This was a good learning experience for us. Hopefully next time we get in a close game, we'll be better."
The victory keeps Lone Peak undefeated (3-0) while Lehi (4-1) lost for the first time this season.