LAYTON Making the jump to 2A a year after winning the 1A state title in boys basketball, Layton Christian could expect to travel through some rough patches. When the Eagles faced defending 2A champion North Summit in the season opener, however, they got a little rougher introduction than they would have liked.
The Braves crushed Layton Christian 69-48 after holding the Eagles to 16 first-half points. Five North Summit players had scored in double figures by game's end.
"It showed us that we needed to work on some stuff," said junior Antwain Harvey. "That was our first game playing together, so everyone wasn't on the same page."
Many of the stars who led the Eagles to a state title, like B.J. Porter and Brett Jones, graduated. It meant working with an inexperienced roster while moving up a classification.
Several players, including starters like Harvey and fellow junior Will Beard, are newcomers to the private school in Davis County. Harvey moved to Utah with his grandmother from Detroit, after she came out here to take a higher paying job. Beard, a transplant from California, transferred to Layton Christian after spending his sophomore year at Bonneville.
With so many new faces on the team, there wasn't time to get acquainted through the traditional means of summer ball and junior varsity games.
"Most of us are new," Beard said. "We hadn't had any time to play with each other except in open gym and stuff like that. So, in a game situation, it showed that we hadn't played with each other."
Inexperience has not kept Layton Christian from counting on a different outcome when it faces North Summit a second time to open Region 14 play next week.
After enduring an 0-3 start, the Eagles recovered to win a four-team tournament hosted by Richfield in mid-December. Layton Christian also proved competitive in the three-day Las Vegas Invitational last weekend.
The Eagles opened the tournament with a 66-54 victory over Agassi Prep, a Nevada high school, and took Voch Tech, a California high school, to double overtime before finally losing 84-79.
Layton Christian's successful showing down in Richfield, in particular, has the team believing it can be a stronger factor in its new region than many people expected before the season.
One thing which could work in the team's favor in region play is depth. Eagles coach Bobby Porter has made a habit of subbing in and out several players at a time during the preseason to try and get his younger players experience. The end result of such tinkering is a rotation that includes at least ten players in a typical game.
"Any five of us can start a game and be successful at it," Beard said.The only drawback to having such a spread-out rotation is that no one has really emerged as the sort of potent scoring threat Layton Christian enjoyed in bunches a year ago. Juan Silveira, the team's leading scorer, averages only 9.9 points per game.