The guys are sharing the ball, our shooters are starting to shoot and we're starting to play defense.
RICHFIELD — Layton Christian Academy showed exactly how teamwork makes for a formidable force during its 1A tournament semifinal victory against Rich Friday night.
LCA rotated 15 different players onto the court through the game while racking up a 70-48 win, earning the Eagles a berth into the championship game against Bryce Valley.
"It's not just our starting five that won this," said Remington Rawlings, who scored 20 points for LCA, including three 3-pointers. "Our bench helped us get this win. We have the deepest bench in the state."
That's not to say the starting lineup didn't have moments to shine as well.
Quincy Mason came out of the gate with three back-to-back jumpers, giving LCA a 6-0 edge in the opening minutes of the game.
"My guards are really good and gave me the ball," said Mason, who totaled 15 points for LCA.
Joe Haugen and Rawlings followed with buckets of their own. Victor Villegas capped the 13-point run for LCA with a 3-pointer. Meanwhile, the Eagles employed a full-court man-to-man defense throughout the game, which proved stifling to the Rebels during most of the first half.
Brent Wallentine broke Rich's goose egg with an inside shot. He added two more points from the foul line. Wallentine finished the evening as the only Rebel to make it into double digits, with 15 points.
Then Scifon Shyaka pumped in a shot for LCA, followed by a basket from teammate Jacob Maughn. Rawlings converted a 3-point-play, and then drained a trey. Gage Trujillo ended the first period with another field goal for LCA, which held a 26-6 edge.
The second quarter started out with a trey from Rawlings, followed by another inside bucket from Shyaka, who finished the night with 10 points for LCA.
Rich saw two field goals in the second stanza — one from Wallentine and the other from McKay Jarman. The half ended with the Eagles cushioned by a 41-17 edge
As more of LCA's reserves took to the floor, the Eagles' scoring pace slowed, as Rich was able to cut the edge down to 20 points with shots from Wallentine, Skyler Argyle and Austin Groll.
The spread proved too much for Rich to overcome as some of LCA's starting lineup made encore appearances in the final quarter.
"The guys are sharing the ball, our shooters are starting to shoot and we're starting to play defense," said LCA assistant coach Ed Thompson. He said LCA's key weakness heading into the tournament was defense, which seems to have been addressed. In the first round, LCA took out Panguitch 74-57, and then went on to beat Tabiona 46-36. The strategy of switching out players should pay dividends for the Eagles as they head into Saturday's finale.
"Our guys' legs should be good tomorrow," Thompson said. "We keep telling them to play hard and protect yourself."
BRYCE VALLEY 50, WAYNE 40: At Richfield, Bryce Valley used defensive effort to hold off Wayne and advance to the 1A championship game. The Mustangs held Wayne's red-hot Ty Rees to just nine points. Jake Pearson led Bryce Valley with 19 points, with Braxton Syrett adding 11.