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Layton Christian tops Cottonwood for historic state title in 4A boys basketball

By JUSTIN B. JOHNSON - Standard-Examiner | Feb 28, 2024
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Layton Christian boys basketball players pose with the 4A state championship trophy on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Orem.
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Layton Christian's Tyrin Jones celebrates with his piece of the net after LCA won the 4A state champoinship Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Orem.
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Layton Christian boys basketball players celebrate winning the 4A state championship Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Orem.
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Layton Christian player Otavio Armani, center, hands out hugs after his team won the 4A state champoinship Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Orem.

OREM — According to Layton Christian Academy head coach Casey Stanley, his team is one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the state.

That didn’t hold in the 4A boys basketball state championship game Wednesday as the No. 1 Eagles shot 10 of 14 from the line in the fourth quarter and 5 of 6 in the final minute to grab a 58-53 win over No. 6 Cottonwood at Utah Valley University.

Layton Christian (25-3) led 12-8 after one quarter and ballooned that lead to 36-22 at the half. Cottonwood (21-6) mounted a comeback, trailing 43-36 after the third quarter. The Colts cut the LCA lead to five points four different times in the final frame.

LCA responded with points to counter each Cottonwood score, making free throws down the stretch and cutting down the nets after the final buzzer.

“That’s what champions do,” Stanley said. “It wasn’t going to be a situation where we ran away with it. Our guys stayed resilient. We faltered, but we stayed resilient and kept making winning basketball plays.”

Otavio Armani led LCA with 15 points on three 3-pointers and 4-of-4 shooting from the charity stripe. Alan Gballou scored 12 points. Tyrin Jones tallied 11 points with one trey and 4 of 4 from the line. Luka Kulundzic netted eight points with two 3-pointers, and Timmie Olubisi added seven points.

Jones complemented his teammates for the championship.

“It took courage,” Jones said. “We fought through thick and thin. We had to do championship things, and that’s what we did today. We’re all winners. All thanks to God.”

LCA won its seventh state championship and, after moving up to 4A before the 2022-23 season, became the first team since the current classification format began in 1973 to win boys basketball state titles in four different classifications.

Going back to the first boys basketball trophy awarded in 1908, Lehi has won 12 titles in what can reasonably be argued as four different classifications (if, when tallying titles, teams that remained in the top classification as Utah added more, for example, counts as the same classification).

Utah State signee Chris Cox led all scorers with 26 points for Cottonwood.


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