Dream matchup set in FreeTaxUSA.com Great Western Shootout

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Tyler Haws (Photo courtesy Great Western Shootout)

Lone Peak guard TJ Haws drives the ball to the basket and looks to pass the ball in the Great Western Shootout last year. (Photo courtesy Great Western Shootout)

Lone Peak High School is the defending national champions and are currently ranked No. 15 in the nation by USA Today. Orem may have its best team in school history.

So what would happen if the two teams played?

There is only one way to find out.

The two teams were not scheduled to play each other this year but on Wednesday that changed. Lone Peak will now play Orem in the final game of the third annual FreeTaxUSA.com Great Western Shootout at Orem High School.

Both teams will play games on Thursday and Friday against other prominent teams from around the country before they take the court against each other on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in what should be the game of the year.

“To be the best you have to play the best and Lone Peak has undoubtedly proved they are the best, so it is a great opportunity,” said Orem coach Golden Holton. “Playing them the first year in the Great Western Shootout may have been the single most important game in preparation for our state championship run and an attitude change of believing at Orem High.” 

Lone Peak will try to keep the momentum it gained last year after turning in the most dominating performance in Utah prep basketball history.

Orem won the school’s first state basketball 4A title in 2012. The core of that team are now seniors who are looking to go out on top.

The tournament field also includes some of Utah’s other top teams in American Fork, Bingham and Orem. The Utah teams will get a chance to see how they fare against some of the elite teams in the country.

Bishop O’Connell (Virginia) is considered a national power. Denver East and Overland are two of the top teams in Colorado and Foothill High School has traditionally been one of the top teams in Nevada.

 

Quinn Peters of Orem (Photo courtesy Great Western Shootout)

Orem High’s Quinn Peters dribbles the ball down the court. (Photo courtesy Great Western Shootout)

“This is the best field that tournament has ever had,” said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis. “It’s very exciting to be part of it.”

The tournament format will include in-state versus out-of-state pairings on Thursday and Friday. In addition to the tournament action on Friday, the festivities include a 3-point shooting contest, the Slam ‘N’ Jam dunk contest, fireworks and a dance that will follow the final game of the night.

At least a dozen prospective Division I players are in this year’s field. TJ Haws (Lone Peak) and Dalton Nixon (Orem) and Ryan Andrus (American Fork) have all committed to BYU.

Overland High’s De’Ron Davis is ranked No. 16 in the nation for the class of 2016. He already has an offer from Indiana. Dominique Collier (Denver East) is headed to the University of Colorado. Bishop O’Connell’s Romelo Trimble, who is committed to the University of Maryland, is ranked as a top 100 player by Scout.com.

The FreeTaxUSA.com Great Western Shootout is the brainchild of Holt. He has coached youth teams that traveled the country competing against the nation’s best teams. It was that experience coupled with the participation in national tournaments with Orem High that gave Holt the idea to create the FreeTaxUSA.com Great Western Shootout.

“I have known for years how good the talent is in Utah. When I got the job at Orem High, I convinced my administration to showcase that talent with an annual high school event,” he said. “The first phone call I made was to Lone Peak. With Lone Peak in, others have quickly followed. The format is simple. We pit four of the best Utah teams against national powers from out of state. The combination is going to make for some of the greatest basketball that will be played all year any where in the country.”

All of the tournament action will be steamed live by SFAN.TV.com and Friday and Saturday night’s games will be televised by KMYU.

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Neil K. Warner has covered all levels of sports in Utah for the last 20 years and is currently the beat writer for Utah Valley University. He is known best by the name Zuke, a nickname that stuck for his entertaining and often controversial Beat the Zuke column that runs weekly in the football and basketball season. He is the author of four books; Danny's Corner, Under the Green Banners, Off Court and Soul Survivor. He lives in Orem with his wife and three children.

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