LAYTON -- The Lancers weren't necessarily pushing the panic button yet, but a sense of urgency was certainly setting in.
Coming into Friday night, Layton found themselves two games out of the final playoff spot heading into the second half of the league season with Region 1 co-leading Northridge making the short bus trip across town.
Even with 6-foot-5 starter Marcus Kemp out of town on a football recruiting trip, the Lancers used their enormous size advantage -- headlined by a front line of Josh Harrop, Jarriesse Blackmon and Mike Hibbert -- to bully their way past the Knights, 61-55. The trio combined for 44 points and 22 rebounds in the win.
"It's nice beating a team that pretty much says this is Northridge City," Harrop said. "We've really kind of struggled with our roles. We finally came together and got a victory."
To counter Layton's length, Northridge tried to exploit the Lancers from the perimeter, hoisting up 31 3-point attempts. Despite a hot hand from Jacob Bigler, who scored 23 points shooting 7-for-14 from beyond the arc, the rest of the Knights combined to shoot 2-for-17.
"A couple of times we got lost in transition, a couple of times we thought that guys were maybe out of their range so we backed off a little bit too much, but all in all these guys did a great job of sticking to the game plan, making sure we stayed on shooters and making life difficult for them," Layton coach Kelby Miller said. "We have to play with that urgency all the time. We've show in games when we've been down that when we play with that type of feel then we're pretty good."
The Lancers jumped out a 14-11 after the first quarter and then extended it to 31-23 at the half behind Blackmon's 13 points. However, Northridge rallied in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 33-32 as Layton stopped pounding the ball inside and settled instead for outside jumpers.
Layton ended the period on a 7-2 run to take a 40-34 advantage into the fourth quarter and eventually pushed its lead to 53-40 with 3:31 to play on a Hibbert jumper. Bigler and Preston Christensen combined for four 3-point buckets in the final three minutes to make it interesting, but the Knights couldn't pull any closer than four points.
Harrop finished with 11 points and seven boards off the bench for the Lancers while Blackmon, a sophomore, recorded team highs with 21 points and nine rebounds. Hibbert scored twelve and point guard Dallin Johnson had 10.
Christensen scored 13 for the Knights with eight rebounds, while Jesse Armitstead scored eight.