PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove's basketball gym provided an intense atmosphere when nationally ranked Lone Peak made the short trip south to play there Tuesday night.
In front of the frenzied crowd, the Knights didn't disappoint.
Lone Peak's trio of superstars — Nick Emery, Eric Mika and T.J. Haws — shone, and the Knights emerged with a 78-43 victory in Region 4.
Emery ripped the nets with 27 points. Haws had 21. And down low, Mika chipped in with 17.
"Once we figured out their defensive set, we knew where their holes would be," said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis. "We came out ready to play tonight. We love being in an atmosphere like this, especially against a team that has proven to be so good."
Forrest Pincock led Pleasant Grove with 14 points and Riley Court added 13.
Lone Peak's big center, Mika, tipped the opening toss to his teammates in the backcourt but the ball was mishandled and finally controlled by Pleasant Grove. Pincock drove the ball into the Knights' court and easily hit nothing but net from beyond the 3-point line. The Vikings scored first and the hometown fans shook the whole building with deafening support.
The game started out like it was going to be a tough defensive affair that would excite and entertain everyone.
That part of the game lasted for about three minutes.
Once Emery found his rhythm, his shots began to fall and his assists to Mika for several slam dunks lit up the visiting fans and shook the house.
For the next two-and-a-half periods, Lone Peak proved why it is ranked No. 2 in the nation by MaxPreps. The Knights held the Vikings to eight points in the first and second periods and nine points in the third.
With the score 71-25 and the game well in hand at the end of the third quarter, coach Lewis pulled all his starters and gave his second- and third-string players some game time. The Vikings took full advantage of this change and did to Lone Peak what had been done to them earlier. They held the Knights to just seven points as Pleasant Grove scored 18 to close out the game.
"The Vikings," said Emery," are a young team that will be very good."
Lone Peak now has a region record of 2-0 and is 13-1 overall. The Knights will play rival American Fork on Thursday evening at Utah Valley University starting at 7 p.m. Pleasant Grove has a 1-1 record in region play and is 10-4 overall. The Vikings will play on the road at Lehi on Friday evening.
Kent Allen lives in Pleasant Grove and covers Pleasant Grove High School varsity sports for Deseret Connect.