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Boys basketball: Romer’s late 3 rallies Layton over Northridge 65-63

By BOB JUDSON - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Dec 1, 2023

LAYTON — After a nine-point halftime lead, Layton High boys basketball had frittered away 15 points against Northridge on Friday night and trailed 53-47 early in the fourth quarter.

At that time, it would have been natural to rely on standout senior guard Mekhi Martin in an attempt to pull the game out.

But it was a pair of underclassmen in junior forward Sam Romer and junior center Josh Checketts who brought the Lancers all the way back.

Checketts scored 11 points in the final 5:37 of the fourth frame and Romer nailed the clutch, game-winning 3-pointer with 5.5 seconds left as Layton remained undefeated with a harrowing, 65-63 non-region victory over the Knights.

Coming out of a timeout with 11.3 ticks on the clock, the game-winning play was not designed for Romer, but he was ready when his number was called.

“The plan was to get the ball back into Mekhi — he’d been rolling all game — but he was double-teamed and the ball got passed to Cade (Tidwell); he made a great pass to me and I was wide-open and just knocked the shot down,” Romer said. “I knew there was a good chance (to take the shot) because in previous games, our best guys have been denied, so I’ve had shots … I need to make them if you want to win games.”

In a rollercoaster affair, Layton (4-0) had built a 35-26 halftime lead, fueled by five 3-pointers in the first quarter (three by KJ Miller) but it turns out the Knights (0-4) were within striking distance.

“I think we were rebounding defensively really well and making the hustle plays and playing good basketball, but kind of got behind ourselves in the third quarter,” Romer said.

Northridge came out in that third quarter and outscored the Lancers 24-12 to take a 50-47 lead heading into the fourth quarter — all of this as Layton coach Kelby Miller did not use a timeout to quiet the storm.

Bentley Whitear drained a trio of 3-pointers in the third period and, when he opened the final frame with yet another trey, the Knights led 53-47 with 6:37 to play.

Then Checketts, scoreless to that point, initiated the comeback with a layup-and-one, and the Lancers mounted their big, 6-foot-8 center’s two dunks and rebound bucket to lead 58-56 with 2:31 remaining.

“We were just finishing shots. Shoutout to our guy Josh Checketts, those dunks gave us a lot of energy. We were kind of looking for him and he was sitting in the right spots and we got the ball to him,” Romer said. “Our coaches said whoever wants it more will win the game.”

The lead changed hands five times until the 30.6 mark when Joshua Kitchen’s rebound basket gave the Knights a 63-62 edge.

Taking advantage of the timeouts not used earlier in the game, the teams called five from that point on, trying to out-strategize each other in the end.

Martin led the Lancers with 19 points and KJ Miller splashed home 16, including four 3-pointers. Checketts had those 11 fourth quarter points and Romer also netted 11.

For Northridge, senior guard Peyton Perkins opened the game with six quick points and finished with 18. Whitear scored 17 points, with five 3-pointers, and Kitchen added 11 points.

Northridge knocked down eight 3-pointers on the night and Layton logged nine, with Romer’s the one remembered most.


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