OGDEN — After winning four straight 5A state championships, Lone Peak’s dynasty seems to be very much alive — and that’s without a single Haws on the team.
Star guard Frank Jackson and forward Nick Curtis came out and shot the lights out as they combined for 36 points on a combined 13-of-16 shooting — including 7-for-7 from beyond the arc — in the first half alone to get things rolling and command four-time defending champ Lone Peak past Copper Hills 99-74 Monday night at the Dee Events Center.
“We were 100 percent (from beyond the arc)?” a surprised Jackson asked of the dynamic duo’s prolific first-half shooting performances. “Hey man, I guess we were just shooting good today. I love playing with Nick.”
Lone Peak flew out of the gates with intensity and urgency on both ends and immediately got into a rhythm to tally 24 points and take an 11-point lead after the opening quarter.
The Knights were virtually impossible to stop on offense as they shot 63 percent from the field and 80 percent from deep as a team in the first half to open up a 50-27 lead at the break.
“We came out very aggressive and were willing to pound the ball, play tough defense and push the ball up court,” Jackson said. “The ball just went in the hoop and it was a total team win. When we play together as a team and we’re shooting like we were tonight, no one can stop us and we feel as if we can win the game.”
Copper Hills responded extremely well and was neck-and-neck with Lone Peak in the second half as it really started to get into a rhythm on offense and played an overall terrific game.
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the Knights couldn’t have shot or played better than they did Monday and are simply the better overall team, but fourth-seeded Copper Hills deserves a lot of praise for its valiant effort against a 5A powerhouse.
“Copper Hills is a great team. We played very well tonight; we hit shots early and got up on them,” Copper Hills head coach Quincy Lewis said. “That’s one of the better games we’ve played all year, but hey, that’s when you want to play them, right?”
Jackson and Curtis continued their star-studded play in the second half and finished with 32 points and 27 points, respectively, while Christian Popoola added 21 more. Jackson also added six dimes and four boards while Curtis secured a team-high six rebounds to anchor the home team down low.
“He’s (Curtis) been a real consistent performer for us all year,” Lewis said of his senior forward. “He’s good around the basket and he’s just really underrated. He is 6-foot-4, he’s not fast, he’s not quick, but he just seems to get things done.”
With the win, Lone Peak moves on to the 5A quarterfinals where it will face No. 3 Viewmont Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.
“It’s definitely nice (to get this first win), but we’ve got to focus on the next one,” added Jackson. “We’ve got three more (wins) to go to reach our goal.”