Ft. Myers, Fla. • Coming into the semifinal, Lone Peak and Southwind (Tenn.) had cruised to victories in their two previous games. It looked like their Friday game would go down to the wire the teams were separated by just one point at halftime but T.J. Haws would have none of that, lifting the Knights to a 67-52 win at the City of Palms tournament.
Haws scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter, connecting on a 3-pointer, two pull-up jumpers, a layup and four free throws.
"I'm just trying to help my team win," Haws said. "If that is scoring, which it was, I'm going to try my best to do it."
Lone Peak (10-0) poured in 24 points in the third quarter to take an 11-point lead into the final period. The Knights turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth and held Southwind to nine points on three field goals.
Southwind (10-2) had trouble getting the ball in the hoop in the second half. It went 7 for 30 from the floor and 1 for 10 from behind the 3-point line.
"Seems like we got a little fatigued our plan was to get them fatigued," Southwind coach Paul Edwards said. "That atmosphere sucked a lot out of them."
Lone Peak has become the crowd favorite this week. Every shot the Knights made was met with huge applause Friday, and Southwind even was booed for holding the ball up 31-30 with less than a minute left in the first half.
Eric Mika was matched up with Missouri-bound senior Johnathan Williams III in the post, and neither disappointed. Mika went 5 for 9 from the floor for 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Williams scored a team-high 22 points for Southwind to go along with nine rebounds.
For the third night in a row, Lone Peak kept the opposing team's best perimeter player in check. Marquette commit JaJuan Johnson scored 11 points in the first half on 4-of-7 shooting. He was taken out of the game in the second half after going 0 for 10 from the floor to finish with 15 points.
"Connor Toolson is kind of an unsung hero out there," Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis said. "He did a really nice job. He defended Johnson most of the game until we zoned late."
Lone Peak will face Florida's Montverde Academy for the championship Saturday at 6 p.m. MST.