LAYTON — It may still be too early to call them road warriors, but after earning their second straight Region 1 victory by a point as the visitors following a 0-2 start at home, the Syracuse Titans are back in the league race.
After beating Weber a week ago with a bucket in the final seconds, Syracuse’s Michael Phelps was again the hero as he hit a free throw to break a 54-all tie with seven seconds to play for the winning margin. Layton’s Dallin Johnson missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
“This region is loaded,” Syracuse coach Justin Nelson said. “Lots of good players, lots of great coaches and lots of good teams. It’s a battle every night.
“I didn’t feel like we played our best game. Diante (Mitchell) certainly didn’t have his best game, but more than anything, his teammates stepped up and we’ll take it.”
Both sides had strong performances from unsung players. Layton’s Scott Sweeten came off the bench to lead the Lancers with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from three point land. Meanwhile, the Titans were sparked by the inside-outside combination of Josh Herfel and Daniel Pehrson. The pair average a combined 12 points per game, but between them shot 11-for-14 from the field for 28 points. Herfel knocked down three treys while Pehrson tallied a game-high 17 points and seven rebounds while also holding Layton’s top scorer, Mike Hibbert, in check on the defensive end.
“For us to reach our potential we’ve got to be able to have multiple guys attack in multiple ways,” Nelson said. “Josh did a great job coming in and shooting the ball. Daniel Pehrson had his best game at both ends of the floor. Stopping (Hibbert) was going to be key for us and Dan did a great job of making it tough for him. I’m just proud as can be and happy for Daniel Pehrson. He did a great job tonight.”
The Lancers led 13-11 after the first period, but Syracuse fought back to take a 26-23 advantage into the locker room and threatened to run away with the game in the second half, stretching its lead to 10 with 2:37 left in the third period.
Layton then turned to a heavy pressure trapping defense to get back into the game. A Pehrson field goal extended the Titan lead to 52-46 with 2:29 left in the game. Layton’s Dallin Johnson and Marcus Kemp scored back-to-back hoops to cut it to 52-50. Following a Daulton Whatcott basket, Sweeten buried a 3-pointer to pull the Lancers to within 54-53. Jaden Trujillo then hit one of two free throws to tie the score with 40 seconds to play. Syracuse bled down the clock and Phelps was fouled on a shot attempt underneath the rim.
Hibbert ended with 11 points while Kemp added 10 in the losing effort. Mitchell, averaging over 21 ppg coming in, was held to eight on 4-for-12 shooting, while Phelps finished with nine.
• DAVIS 65, FREMONT 41: At Plain City, the Silver Wolves worked hard to stay close through the first half, but the Darts blitzed the nets for 27 points in the third quarter to earn the edge.
Alex Morrell led the way for Davis with 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Jesse Wade added 16 points, Abel Porter added 15, and Braden Koelliker dominated the paint with six points and 14 rebounds.
Kade Criswell scored 13 points, while Landon Scott added nine points and five boards for the Silver Wolves.