Utah teams win skiing or biking or soccer national championships. But basketball? Boys basketball?
Not a chance. Never. Out of the realm of possibility.
But Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
unquestionably earned the mythical national championship claim in 2012-13 by going 26-1, including a 6-1 record against teams that were ranked nationally at some point in the season. The Knights had wins over teams from nine states.
The lone loss came in the final of the prestigious City of Palms Classic to Montverde Academy (Fla.) – the No. 1 team in MaxPreps Academy Top 10, a team not eligible for Xcellent 25 consideration.
Among the biggest statements all season included an 84-46 thrashing of 22-3 Proviso East (Maywood, Ill.) in December, ending Chester's (Pa.) 61-game win streak at the City of Palms Classic and an 81-46 spanking of two-time defending California Division II state champ Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in January.
Take that country. They were the first players from Utah to take a MaxPreps national championship in any sport, either gender.
For all of it, they earned the MaxPreps Boys Team of the Year award.
"I think it shows what's possible if you put a lot of work into it and have the right combination," said MaxPreps National Boys Basketball Coach of the Year Quincy Lewis.
The Knights' balance was on display as postseason awards began to roll
out in the Beehive State. BYU-bound (following a two-year mission)
senior guard Nick Emery
was named Mr. Basketball by the Deseret News
. Junior guard T.J. Haws
(also committed to BYU) earned Class 5A MVP honors. Two other future BYU Cougars in 6-foot-9 senior Eric Mika
and football recruit Talon Shumway
earned first team Class 5A All-State honors. Senior guard Connor Toolson
was named to the second team.
"In the fall we set a goal to win the national championship," Lewis said. "We thought that it was possible and so whenever we're playing an in-state game our conversation was, 'We're playing for the national championship tonight,' because you lose one in-state game and it's over."