Box score

For a team that never trailed in Tuesday’s 6A quarterfinal, the final four seconds were unusually stressful for No. 4 seed Lone Peak.

After leading by at least five points the entire second half, poor defense from Lone Peak in the final minute allowed 12th-seeded Davis to close to within one possession late, and the Darts even had an off-balanced 3-pointer at the buzzer to win it — but the shot sailed wide.

That nervy miss allowed Lone Peak to hang on for the 54-52 victory to advance to its first semifinals since 2020.

Leading by one with four seconds left, Lone Peak made a free throw to stretch it to 54-52, but a bizarre lane violation denied the second free throw attempt as Davis was in position to tie or potentially win.

“In all honesty I had a bad feeling cause I’ve seen them multiple times come back and hit game-winning shots and we played them earlier this year and we were up 16 and they just kept chipping and chipping,” said Lone Peak coach Robert Ross, whose team won the preseason meeting by four points.

Until that final minute, Lone Peak was incredibly efficient offensively throughout Tuesday’s first game at the Dee Events Center, shooting 48% from the field, outrebounding Davis 31-20 and only turning the ball over six times.

Until the final minute, it had an answer offensively anytime Davis made a push. If the Darts cut Lone Peak’s lead to five or six points, within a few possessions the lead was back to nine or 10 points.

Sure enough, when Davis cut it to 46-41 with four minutes left, Lone Peak responded with a 5-0 run highlighted by an and-one from Isaac Staley, who scored 13 points for the Knights.

“We felt like some of the things we’ve done earlier in the year is we rush our shots, and we say guys as long as you’re balanced and you’re square to basket, take the shot, and they did that tonight, so we were really proud of that,” said Ross.

Davis’ Colby Whicker buried a 3-pointer at the 2:45 mark to make it a 51-44 game, and after getting a couple defensive stops, Kaden Eggett cut it to 51-46 with 1:09 remaining.

Just like it had the entire game, Lone Peak immediately pushed it back to a three-score game with two free throws with 50 seconds remaining from Luke Fotheringham, who led Lone Peak with 17 points.

From there, Lone Peak’s defense started to slip up.

Ross said Lone Peak frequently runs a drill in practice he calls “state championship defense.” The premise is you cannot let your player get into the paint, while also not giving up 3-pointers.

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In the final minute, Ross said, “we just kind of failed ourselves with that.”

Eggett attacked the paint and finished at the rim to make it a 53-48 lead with 40 seconds remaining — even though he missed a free throw that could’ve cut into the lead further.

Lone Peak helped Davis at other end by missing the front end of a 1-and-1 situation, and the Darts again broke down the “championship defense” as Coleman Atwater was fouled at the rim. He made both free throws trimming the lead to 53-50.

Lone Peak against helped out Davis with two more missed free throws with 11 seconds left as the lead stayed at 3 points. The Knights’ coaching staff had no interest in letting Davis try and get off a 3-point shot, and instead fouled Atwater with five seconds left.

Atwater drained them both, cutting the deficit to 53-52. That was as close as the Darts would get, though, as Lone Peak tacked on one more free throw and sweated out the final miss.

With the win, Lone Peak advances to Thursday’s semifinal and will face top seed Corner Canyon at 7 p.m.

Corner Canyon won the teams’ two region meetings by 24 and 16 points, but Ross said he really likes the way his team has been trending, especially since that first 24-point loss to the Chargers back on Jan. 24.

“It’s been really good. I’ve really proud of our guys. Every team has injuries, but we’ve had lots of missed games by our guys. And it didn’t matter who played, they just kept fighting. We feel like as a staff we’re playing significantly better than we were in the first time we played Corner Canyon,” said Ross. “I’m excited about the opportunity.”