Thursday , March 01, 2018 - 5:36 PM
SALT LAKE CITY — Having an experienced, veteran team is never more important than during crunch time in a pressure-packed 6A state tournament game.
Layton boys trailed Westlake by six points at the half and four in the fourth quarter before storming back to capture a 68-65 quarterfinal victory Thursday afternoon at the University of Utah.
“They are a team that gets after it,” Layton coach Kelby Miller said of Westlake (13-13). “We knew they were confident, winning a play-in game and then taking out No. 1 seed Riverton. They have balanced scoring and are hard to defend.”
The game was tied or the lead changed hands four times in the first four minutes of the final period.
Trailing 59-58 with 3:19 left in the game, the Lancers (16-7) went on a 8-0 run to give them some breathing room. At one time during the run, Layton kept the ball for four straight possessions at its end of the court, getting rebounds off field goal attempts and missed free throws.
That sequence finally ended when Truman Brown hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:12 left to give the Lancers a 65-59 lead.
“We joke about, if you shoot a 3-pointer in crunch time, you have to make it,” Brown said. “I was happy it went in. It felt really good to make that and extend the lead and put the game out of reach.”
Miller said his team just won’t quit.
“We can string together those kinds of runs. It was good to know with 30 seconds left, we got this one. That’s these guy’s mentality right now. They refuse to lose, and get after it,” Miller said.
Brown scored 18 points for the Lancers, had five rebounds and four steals. Collin Jeppson led the Lancers on 19 points with finishes around the rim, and pulled down seven boards.
“The key to the second half was making more layups. We had a lot of opportunities in the first half and didn’t capitalize on them,” Miller said. “We got more physical and finished around the hoop and played with more confidence.”
Skyler Turner checked in with 10 points, shot 4 of 4 from the free-throw line, grabbed eight rebounds and chipped in three assists. Chase Potter netted 10 points and Conner Hill filled the stat sheet with six points, seven assists and seven steals.
“This group is a veteran group. They have been around for a while. We’ve had these situations in region that prepared us for this. We schedule a tough preseason for moments like this,” Miller said.
Layton next draws Lone Peak (21-3) in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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