SALT LAKE CITY — As star point guard Steven Ashworth walked toward Lone Peak’s bench holding his left eye, he simply told the trainer, “I can’t see.”
A Layton player inadvertently poked Ashworth in the eye, knocking out vision in that eye midway through the second quarter, and the senior spent the rest of the first half in the locker room being looked at by doctors and then all of halftime.
Without Ashworth on the court, Lone Peak extended its lead to 10 points by halftime, and when Ashworth’s vision returned in time for him to start the third quarter, the fired-up Knights overwhelmed Layton in the second half pulling away for the statement 82-47 victory in the 6A semifinals.
Doctors were worried that Ashworth might have a detached retina because he couldn’t focus after initially getting poked, but by halftime his vision was starting to come back.
“Didn’t know what was going on, so we went back in the training room and got everything situated. Had two minutes to warm up for the second half, and luckily I could see well enough that I could get it in the range of the basket,” said Ashworth.
Ashworth was held in check in the first half before exiting, but upon returning he was terrific scoring 12 of his 16 points as Lone Peak outscored Layton 45-20 in the second half.
Ashworth said the vision got progressively better throughout the second half and said everything was back to normal by the end of the game.
With the win, Lone Peak advances to Friday’s 6A championship at the University of Utah and will face region foe Pleasant Grove at 1:15 p.m.
Lone Peak swept Pleasant Grove in region play, but the games were decided by a combined five points and the third game figures to be as competitive.
“We got to hit our shots, we’ve got to play great defense and we’ve got to worry about Van Komen — and see if we can stop Casey Brown a little bit, he’s been on this little tear lately,” said Lone Peak coach David Evans.
With Ashworth being held in check in the first half, Chantry Ross did the damage for the Knights scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting as Lone Peak built a 37-27 halftime lead.
“He started the game on fire, it was great, he came out with a bang,” said Evans.
Leading 41-31 early in the third quarter, the Knights quickly put the game out of reach with a 12-2 run to close the quarter with Jackson Brinkerhoff putting a punctuation mark on the run with a slam dunk at the buzzer for the 53-33 lead.
Max Brenchley was one of the unsung heroes for the Knights as he had a monster double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, helping Lone Peak to a huge 44-30 edge in rebounding.
“I was so proud of the way they were a total group, a total team, and (Max) Brenchley was the pinnacle of that tonight, he was awesome today,” said Lone Peak coach David Evans. “His help-side defense and his rebounding tonight were absolutely sensational. He’s always having to play a really hard big guy on the other team and he came tonight and battled.”
Lone Peak’s defense forced Layton into 20 turnovers, which it turned into a 30-5 edge in points off turnovers.