LAYTON — Coaches like to talk about their teams and say it’s not about how a team starts a season, but rather how it finishes.
In Layton’s case, the start nullified any sort of finish that Weber could’ve possibly mustered.
The No. 3 seed Lancers didn’t allow a Warrior basket the first five minutes of the game, led 21-4 after one quarter and cruised to a 78-59 win in the teams’ 6A second-round playoff game Friday night.
Layton (20-2) advances to the state quarterfinals, where it will meet No. 11 Pleasant Grove (15-10) at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the University of Utah.
To their credit, the No. 14 Warriors (13-10) essentially matched the Lancers bucket for bucket after the first quarter and pulled within single digits a handful of times after halftime.
But Weber spent so much energy getting to single digits that it didn’t have enough left to complete a potential comeback.
“Whenever you’re coming out in a big game like this, you want to have a good start,” Layton head coach Kelby Miller said. “We missed a few easy shots, but really our focus was on the defensive end and of course, you get up double digits after the first quarter, teams have to expend a lot of energy and effort to come back, and that’s tough.”
Layton led 13-0 with 2:47 left in the first quarter when Weber finally got on the board against the Lancers’ 1-3-1 zone, one of the team’s bread-and-butter defensive looks.
Layton watched Weber’s game Wednesday, saw the Warriors struggle with the Syracuse 1-3-1 and knew Weber had struggled against the Layton 1-3-1 zone earlier this year.
In the locker room before tipoff, the coaches asked the players how they wanted to start out defensively:
“I think ultimately we came to 1-3-1 just because it gets us flying around, it gets us going, gets us up-tempo,” senior Jacob Randall said.
For 5 minutes and 13 seconds, the Warriors turned the ball over several times, missed what little amount of open shots they created and looked flat out flummoxed.
A twisting, driving layup by Layton’s Ethan Potter capped the first-quarter scoring and was one of his more acrobatic baskets.
Weber switched to a zone to try and stem the flow of scoring at the rim where the Lancers were doing most of their damage.
Layton patiently worked the ball around the 3-point line and Randall fired in a deep 3-pointer, part of a 25-point effort for the senior guard.
Potter led the Lancers in scoring with 30 points on a variety of drives, floaters, short jump shots and tough inside buckets.
Layton led by 13 at halftime despite point guard Tanner Kofoed sitting on the bench with two early fouls for most of the first half.
Weber hit a flurry of 3-pointers early in the third quarter to bring the deficit back to 43-34. Cannon DeVries and Cache Clark each made 3-pointers during that stretch and co-led the Warriors with 18 points each.
The lead hovered around 9-12 points the rest of the third quarter before Layton pulled away in the fourth. The Lancers padded the lead by going to the free-throw line 35 times and converting 31 makes (88%).
Potter went a perfect 10 of 10 at the line, Boston Painter shot 9 of 10 at the line and scored 15 points, and Randall was 10 of 13 from the stripe.