TAYLORSVILLE -- After comeback victories against Alta and previously undefeated Bingham, could the Lancers go 3-for-3 in Bruin Arena?
Unfortunately, the tank ran dry Saturday in Layton High's biggest game this season.
Going scoreless the final 1:24 and turning the ball over twice in the last 28.8 seconds -- the first on an offensive foul -- added up to a disheartening 41-37 loss to Riverton in the state 5-A championship game at Salt Lake Community College.
"We won a lot of games over the summer and had a lot of girls back from last year," said Layton coach Van Price. "I didn't know if we would make the state finals, but I expected us to make some noise at the state tournament."
The Lancers were making their first title game appearance since their 2005 state 5-A championship season.
"Not winning the Region 1 title gave us extra motivation," Price said. "There is still a good feeling finishing second. Riverton is deeper than us and quicker than we are. But we beat Bingham, which nobody else did."
After a three-team coin toss, Layton was the league's No. 2-seeded team.
Down 7-0 at 2:37 of the first quarter and by four points at halftime, the Lancers took a four-point lead at 3:27 of the third quarter on Ashley Price's rim-rattling 3-pointer.
The Silverwolves outscored Layton 16-8 the remainder of the game, despite converting just 3 of 7 fourth-quarter free throws.
The Lancers came from 16-down to defeat Alta 63-57 on Wednesday, and rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit against Bingham in a 41-38 win Friday.
"We had to expend a lot of energy in each of those games, and our reaction time today was a little slow," coach Price said. "I think those two games took a lot out of us mentally with no time for recovery.
"We knew what they did, but we didn't have a day to practice," he said. "There is only so much you can do with a scouting report or a walk-through. I think we were tired."
Riverton scored 21 points off 19 Lancers' turnovers.
"Turnovers definitely hurt us; I attribute that to fatigue," Price said. "You make mistakes because you are mentally tired."
The Silverwolves, who fell to Weber in last year's semifinals, were playing in their first 5-A title game since losing to American Fork in 2009.
Gerika Ballard scored a game-high 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting with four rebounds, one assist, two steals and two turnovers in 17 minutes for Riverton (22-3), which won its last five games and went 9-3 in its last 12.
Whitney Saunders tossed in nine points and grabbed a game-high 12 boards for the Silverwolves, who shot 30.7 percent (15 of 49) -- 12.5 percent (1 of 8) on 3-point attempts -- outrebounded Layton 34-33 and committed 16 turnovers.
"I think we were tired," Price said. "We were not the same team today as we were earlier in the week and it's fatigue."
The Lancers' Maddi Smith had a game-high 13 points, only going 3 of 12 from the floor, with nine boards, two assists, one steal and five turnovers in 32 minutes.
Jaden Anderson added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting -- just one fourth-quarter foul shot -- with eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks and a turnover in 27 minutes.
"They pressured the ball up higher, and we couldn't get the ball into Jaden where we wanted to," Price said. "It was a good adjustment on their part."
Layton (17-8), which came into the state 5-A tournament on a three-game skid, was 10-5 in its last 15.
"I don't think I had a team that worked this hard since 2005," Price said. "I could push them to get the most out of them."
The Lancers shot 30.6 percent (11 of 36), were 28.6 percent (2 of 7) from deep and got outscored 20-14 in the paint and 6-2 on fast-break points.