1A basketball: Layton Christian rallies after first-round loss for sixth place
RICHFIELD — After losing their first-round 1A playoff game to fifth-seeded Valley, Layton Christian didn't feel much like trying to compete in consolation play.
"That was very, very hard," said senior Preston Sill after the Eagles earned sixth place with a 54-25 win over Legacy Prep in consolation play Saturday at the Sevier Valley Center. "I didn't want to play. It took me until tip off of the next game to realize we had something to prove."
Their goal in the three games since has been to show the state they are one of the state's best teams.
"I think this last Valley game was a lesson that if you don't prepare and you come in lackadaisical, you'll lose, even if you're the better team," said senior D.J. Lacey. "That was hard because I've been waiting for that game since eighth grade."
Layton Christian head coach Bobby Porter acknowledged how difficult it is for a team to continue to compete after losing the chance to win a title.
"It is hard," he said. "First of all, we play to play on the last day — and that's Saturday. I think that's a good focus because only one person can be champion. I also tell them that we have to be able to get through adversity. These are life lessons."
And the Eagles are not without significant accomplishments this season.
"They'll get to put another banner on the wall," said Porter. "We finished sixth in the state and won another region championship. I'm proud this team is part of the 57-game win streak we have in Region 17. They're just great kids."
And that, coach Porter said, is what he hopes they gained from all the practices, all the team talks and all of the games.
"Life lessons — how to overcome adversity, being part of a team so you can be successful, having self-discipline, being able to have integrity," Porter said of what he hopes his players take with them when they graduate. "And doing what's right when nobody's looking. Whatever you do, then do it to the best of your abilities."
The Eagles were led by senior Duce Namazi, who had an incredible state tournament.
When he considers what he loses with his six seniors, Porter gets a little emotional.
"We lose heart," he said. "We lose athleticism; we lose Duce Namazi. He's incredible."
Namazi scored 16 points, grabbed four rebounds, had two assists and earned two steals.
"This season has taught me a lot," said Namazi, who is still deciding where he will play college basketball. "I've played for coach Porter for three years, and I look up to him. He taught me to just always work hard and be the best you can be in everything you do."
Sill added 10 points and nine rebounds, while Joe Reddish added nine points and five rebounds. Ricardo Gomez scored seven points, had three rebounds, four assists and five steals in helping the team to one final victory.
For the Lions, Hunter Harmer led the way with 10 points, five rebounds and two steals. The loss means the Lions finish in eighth place this season.