HIGHLAND, Utah – Lone Peak is no stranger to being in the national spotlight in basketball. The Knights are only a few years removed from winning a national championship and boast one of the nation’s top players in senior guard Frank Jackson.
It seems only fitting that Lone Peak is the team to achieve a new milestone for Utah high school basketball. On Friday, the Knights will become the first Utah high school team to participate in a nationally televised game originating from the state.
Lone Peak will host St. Joseph, a school located in Metuchen, New Jersey, on Friday at 9 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
“We’re grateful for it,” Lone Peak coach David Evans said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity. We have a pretty young team, but we’re grateful ESPN has allowed us to do this.”
It promises to be an exciting contest between two quality programs. St. Joseph is currently ranked 8th in New Jersey by MaxPreps. The Falcons are 13–2 overall and 8–0 in conference play. Senior guards Tyus Battle and Breein Tyree lead the St. Joseph offense and are deadly perimeter shooters. Battle is committed to play for Syracuse and Tyree is committed to play for Mississippi.
[pullquote]“We’re grateful for the opportunity. We have a pretty young team, but we’re grateful ESPN has allowed us to do this.” —David Evans, Lone Peak coach[/pullquote]
Lone Peak lost to an in-state opponent for the first time on Tuesday night when it fell 70–67 at home to Herriman. The Knights are 15–4 overall and 7–1 in Region 3. Jackson, a Duke commit, powers a high-flying Lone Peak offense and he ranks second in the state in scoring with 26.5 points per game.
The senior guard was named a McDonald’s All-American in January, becoming the first Utah high school basketball player to earn that honor since former BYU forward Garner Meads was named to the McDonald’s All-American team in 2000 as a senior at Brighton.
ESPNU began negotiating with Evans about broadcasting a Lone Peak home game before the start of the season. The network originally planned to pit the Knights against a team from Indiana, but a game with St. Joseph worked out better schedule wise.
One thing is certain: Lone Peak will not be intimidated by the Falcons. The Knights have regularly faced national opponents over the past few seasons and are used to the pressure and atmosphere of these types of games.
Lone Peak is 4–3 against teams from outside Utah this season. One of those victories was a 73–71 thriller over national power Miller Grove (GA) at the FreeTaxUSA Shootout in December.
“We’ve got some work to do, but it has prepared us,” Evans said. “Right now, we just got to get better. We got to get better defensively and we got to get better moving the ball.”
Tickets for the game are available for purchase at Lone Peak High up until Friday afternoon. Admission is $10 for adults, students and children.