LAYTON -- She's barely 5-foot-1, but she gave the two-time defending 1-A champions all they could have wanted Thursday night.
Freshman Heather Martin-Chan led Layton Christian with 17 points, contorting her body for acrobatic layups and knocking down 3-pointers Utahns are accustomed to seeing from Jimmer Fredette, but in the end it wasn't enough as visiting St. Joseph defeated the Eagles 55-31.
"She was definitely balling out," St. Joseph senior Elizabeth Tomon said. "She was really good."
Tomon, who is signed to play next year at Colorado School of Mines, scored a game-high 24 points, including 18 on 8-of-14 shooting in the first half, in what was an otherwise rugged shooting effort for St. Joseph.
"In our first game of the year, we were 1 of our first 18," St. Joseph coach Joe Cravens said. "We're just simply not shooting the ball well right now, and I think it's a little bit of a mental thing. We'll get through it, but we're playing hard, we're really sharing the ball, we're doing pretty much everything good except shooting the ball right now."
St. Joseph (3-1) missed a layup immediately after winning the opening tip on Thursday and missed its first seven shot attempts before Tomon finally got the Lady Jayhawks on the board over two minutes into the contest.
St. Joseph shot 31.8 percent overall for the game and made just 2 of 14 3-point attempts.
Despite the struggles, St. Joseph still managed to end the first quarter with 16 points. But Martin-Chan ignited the crowd with a reverse layup as the buzzer sounded to keep Layton Christian (0-5) within five at 16-11.
The 11 first-quarter points were nearly as many as Layton Christian had scored in the four first quarters previous to Thursday night combined (12).
"They hit some shots," Cravens said. "You can analyze all you want to, but this game comes down to making shots and they made shots. That made a game of it."
Tomon and St. Joseph kept the pressure on throughout the second quarter and went into halftime ahead 29-20.
St. Joseph continued to build its lead in the third despite a pair of long-range 3-pointers from Martin-Chan.
"She's a really good player," Cravens said. "She can drive, she made a couple of really acrobatic drives and shot in a couple NBA 3s. She's a good player."
In the end though, St. Joseph's experience won out as the Lady Jayhawks outscored the Lady Eagles 13-3 in the final quarter and closed the game on a 10-0 run.
"We've really kind of developed a mentality here in the last three or four years of being tough mentally," Cravens said. "We came back from 12 down in the state semifinal game last year and won in double overtime, so I think we're pretty tough mentally."
For Layton Christian coach Rob Zepeda, the game was a confidence boost -- even despite the end result.
"These girls have never played with each other and they just competed - they're all freshmen - they just competed with the two-time state champs." Zepeda said.
Junior Mady White notched a double-double for St. Joseph with 14 points and 10 steals.