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Lone Peak prepares to win 4th state championship

ALPINE — A year ago, TJ Haws was a starter for the only high school basketball team in Utah history to win a National championship, and now he is trying to make history again with the Lone Peak High basketball team.

"Last year, we were chasing history to win a national championship," Haws said. "But this team is chasing history as well. No one has ever won a four-peat so that's our goal this year."

The Lone Peak Knights are seeking a fourth straight state championship for high school basketball. However, Haws said they lost several valuable players who graduated. He said Eric Mica, Nick Emery, Talon Shumway and Connor Tooleson are now all heading off to college or to serve LDS missions.

"It's been different because I've played with Nick and Eric since I was a little kid," Haws said. "It's definitely a weird feeling not seeing them. Not seeing No. 4 on the court with me."

The Knights basketball team not only earned a No. 1 national ranking in 2013, but they even played on ESPN and went on NBC's The Today Show. Haws said it was amazing to see reflect on how much the team accomplished last year.

"Sometimes it's pretty amazing to think about," he said. "(But, I) try not to focus on it too much because we have a different goal this year."

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Haws is definitely a confident basketball player. In January, he set a school record by scoring 40 points against Westlake. He said he enjoys the "green light" to shoot whenever and wherever he wants.

"TJ is a greaty player," said Zach Frampton. "Everyone knows that so what we look for him is to lead us. He's been there before and he's done a great job at it."

Haws said he looks up to older brother, Tyler Haws, who is currently the lead scorer for BYU. Tyler recently passed their father on BYU's all-time high scoring list.

"Tyler had a similar situation his senior year," Haws said. "I think me and Ty can relate to each other. He's talked me through some things."

The Knights are well on their way to preparing for a fourth state championship. But TJ said he knows it's not going to be easy. Lone Peak remains ranked No. 1 in the Deseret News Top 25 and the Knights have a 30-game winning streak against teams from Utah.

As for TJ's future, he said he plans to serve a Church mission right after graduation and then reunite with teammates Nick Emery and Eric Mika at BYU in time for the 2016 season.