Tuesday , February 20, 2018 - 11:09 PM
TAYLORSVILLE — More than two weeks ago, Kaitlyn Viator had her worst game of the season points-wise: 0-of-9 shooting, three turnovers, zero points.
The game in question was a 17-point loss at Fremont in which Layton’s hopes of at least sharing a Region 1 title were mathematically flattened.
So Viator went to the gym and got up shots against her much-taller brother.
“I needed to work on my shot with people being on me. I needed to find myself again ... and today I found my confidence, but then I also relied on my teammates more and when I do that, it’s less stressful for me,” Viator said Tuesday.
After the Fremont loss, the Lancers fell by 18 at home to Clearfield on senior night, but it wasn’t a prompt to pull the alarm before the state tournament.
Not even close.
From the opening tipoff against Kearns (6-16) it was obvious the Lancers (15-6) had been righted coming into the playoffs, something they affirmed in a dominant 62-24 win in the first round of the 6A state tournament at Salt Lake Community College.
“Our mentality is leave the guts on the floor, every game’s a do-or-die ... that’s why I think we bounced back,” Viator said.
Those recent struggles? Layton put them to bed early. It was 17-4 after the first quarter, 36-7 at halftime and 49-14 after three quarters.
Viator scored a game-high 13 points with four rebounds and four steals. What little frustration remained from the 0-for-9 performance turned to satisfaction when she finished a powerful coast-to-coast layup in the first half.
One reason was that, to finish the layup, she danced through three defenders as though it was a walk down the hallway. The other was that Layton led 27-4 at that point and was in the midst of what would be a 27-0 run in the first half.
Gracey Criswell with a bucket for Layton. pic.twitter.com/e5NwBEpokw— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) February 21, 2018
The Lancers earned the No. 2 seed by way of stellar defense. They held opponents under 50 points in 15 of their 20 previous games this season with Tuesday’s being the 16th.
For the game: 12 Layton steals, 20 Kearns turnovers, 21 Lancers points off turnovers, several tipped passes and several more bad passes forced.
The Cougars didn’t get into double figures until 2:39 left in the third quarter, by which time Layton head coach Van Price was emptying the bench.
Next is a 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal on Thursday against top-seeded Copper Hills (21-2), one of the tournament favorites who steamrolled Pleasant Grove 66-25 in the first round.
“To come into this game tonight and be able to relax a little bit and get used to the floor and get some minutes, we’re going to need everybody for the next game,” Price said.
The last time these two teams met was a 46-44 overtime semifinal in 2016 where the teams were mixed up about whose basket was whose, so Layton’s Clara Wood started overtime with an uncontested layup.
Copper Hills surely remembers.
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