TAYLORSVILLE — In a dimly lit hallway outside the locker room where their teammates celebrated a huge semifinal victory, Layton's two captains tried to describe how it felt to realize a dream they'd shared since elementary school.
One was in tears. The other couldn't stop smiling.
But both Livia Treseder, who apologized for her emotions, and Ashley Price, who beamed throughout her postgame interviews, played with the same desire. On Friday night at Salt Lake Community College, that desire allowed the Lancers to do what no other team had been able to do this year — beat the Bingham Miners.
Layton prevailed over the Miners in a 41-38 thriller.
"It was crazy," said Treseder, who finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. "It was more of a mental game than it was physical. I'm so emotional, I'm sorry. I was hungry. I wanted that win. I didn't want to lose. I was doing anything I could so we could get the ball and have a turn on offense and get up."
Treseder gave her team the grit it badly needed, while Price provided leadership and intelligence.
Price played fearlessly, and it paid huge dividends in the game's final minutes. Early on, she had to leave the game at 3:33 in the first quarter when she picked up her second foul. Despite begging her father, head coach Van Price, to go back in, he made her wait until the second half.
"It was really hard," she said. "I wanted to go in so bad. I wanted to help out."
Once she got back on the floor, she never fouled again, and she provided leadership, especially offensively, that the Lancers needed to win.
Price scored nine of her 11 points in the final quarter, including making a play with 2:05 to go that gave the Lancers the lead they would cling to until Bingham's final 3-point attempt fell short.
Price drove to the basket and was fouled and made the layup and the and-one free throw, which gave Layton a 36-34 lead. A steal by Cassidy Anderson led to Price being fouled on a fast break, and she hit both of those freebies.
Coach Price was far more nervous about the 3-pointer that Bingham might hit at the end than he was about his youngest daughter's ability to deliver under pressure.
That might be because when these two teams played in December, Bingham won on a last-second 3-pointer. But it could also be that he trusts his baby girl.
"She was supposed to go to Davis, but she wanted to play for her dad," said Price, whose coached his other two children, as well. "It's a privilege to be able to do that for your kids." He's wasn't afraid of her being in a high-risk, high-reward position.
"It's hard, but I know them," he said. "I know Ashley thrives on that. Pressure doesn't seem to bother her. Whatever happens, happens. I just have a lot of confidence in her."
Price changed his defense in that final quarter almost constantly in an effort to keep Bingham off-balance.
"I made a mistake in that (December) game because I put us in a matchup zone, and the screen happened and we didn't switch. I wasn't going to let that happen this game. We were ahead, and we wanted to make sure they didn't get a good 3-point shot."
Bingham got the ball back after Ashley Price made two more free throws to give Layton a 41-38 lead, and Bingham head coach Rand Rasmussen said the play was for the open player to take the shot.
"I'm not upset. I’m more bothered that I won't have those eight seniors with me on Monday," he said. "We had tremendous leadership out of our eight seniors. ... Our society is, 'It's all about me.' This group is the complete opposite of that."
He said the players have been a joy to coach because they work hard — on and off the court. The 20 players have a combined GPA of 3.88.
"It was not for lack of effort," he said. "And this doesn't take away from what we've accomplished. ... This is the funnest team I've ever had the chance to coach, and I didn't win it. This group is just special."
Bingham was led by Jillian Powell, who scored 10 points, Ashton Henderson, who scored nine, and Mackenzie Bruggeman, who added seven points and six rebounds. Those three and point guard Madison Aulai-Roe will play together next year at Snow College.
The Lancers had their work cut out for them after the Miner defense held them to just three points in the second quarter. Some of Layton's third-quarter turnaround was the return of Ashley Price, and some of it was Treseder inspiring her teammates not to settle for anything but a win.
"Livia stepped up," said coach Price. "She's been hampered with plantar fasciitis (and) stress fractures, and every game, if I play her too long, she's just holding her leg, her foot. ... It's not just that she's tired, she's in pain. I have to take her out and give her a rest."
Friday, she was the strongest post player on the court.
"I didn't see that today," said coach Price. "Today it was like she had an extra step. She'd get an extra rebound; she was all over the place. ... This was by far her best game overall, as far as effort being everywhere and giving it all she had. They want it. They really want it. They wanted to be here, and they want to win a championship."1 comment on this story
The Lancers will take on second-ranked Riverton at 4 p.m. Saturday for the 5A state championship at Salt Lake Community College. It will be another battle.
"It's tough," coach Price said. "They knocked us out last year. We've got to watch some film, get a game plan together and hope for the best."