5A boys' basketball: Lone Peak beats Pleasant Grove 84-66 for fourth straight title
Lone Peak star guard T.J. Haws threw his hands in the air as he strode toward the Knights' bench, summoning an uproar from the fans in the stands, who rose and acknowledged they were witnessing something special.
Haws was walking off the court for the last time as a Knight and his face reddened with fiery emotion. He lifted four fingers and flashed them.
"Four, baby!" he yelled.
Haws just had turned in one final superlative performance in a career littered with them to lead Lone Peak to history - its fourth straight state title, something no Utah team had ever done - with an 84-66 win over Pleasant Grove Saturday in the Class 5A state championship game at the Huntsman Center.
"We made history, man," said Haws, who finished with a game-high 29 points. "We've been chasing history all year. This feels so good."
The latest championship run for the Knights hadn't come quite as easily as some of the others. There had been the double-overtime win over Bingham in the quarterfinals. A nailbiter against Davis in the semis had followed. Doubts about whether the Knights had enough in them for another title sprang up around them.
"We used that as motivation," Haws said.
But the Knights turned in an overwhelming performance when tip-off came in the biggest game of their season, like they so often have while dominating Utah basketball the last four seasons.
And it wasn't just Haws leading the Knights, who broke open a 47-29 halftime lead. Zach Frampton, who has received little attention beneath the spotlight of Haws and star guard Frank Jackson, had 21 first-half points and a barrage of late 3s in the half.
"You don't expect him to have 21 points in the first half," Knights coach Quincy Lewis said. "But it's not surprising to see him have this kind of a game, based on what his experience is."
The second half belonged to Haws. He had his sights set on the only thing that still eluded him after four years during which he's become one of the most storied high school athletes in state history - the four-peat. The senior dazzled in the final 16 minutes, hitting long 3s from all over the court.
"What he did in this game, that's what greatness is all about," Lewis said. "What he did against Bingham [42 points], that's what greatness is all about. What he's doing here is very unusual."
While Haws had been a champion three times before, it was Jackson's first time. But the sophomore BYU commit didn't hesitate when pondering whether it might be his last time - whether the Knights' dynasty might have finally reached its zenith.
"We're going to keep going," Jackson said. "Every year this is our goal. This is our goal in practice, and everything we do, we work hard in the offseason, during the season. This is our ultimate goal."