PLEASANT VIEW — The Layton Lancers were excited to start region play Tuesday night.
Maybe a little too excited.
"Composure-wise, that was our worst game," said Layton head coach Van Price after his Lancers withstood a Weber Warrior comeback attempt to win 51-43 in their Region 1 opener. "Usually they're really into games, very focused, but we struggled tonight."
The coach said that in preparing his players for the gravity of every contest in their very competitive region, he may have caused some anxiety among them.
"I probably built it up too much," he said with a smile. "I overdid it, psyched them out."
Senior guard and captain Ashley Price said they were "really nervous."
Added senior captain Livia Treseder, who led the Layton offense with 17 points: "We knew it was a big game, and there was a lot of pressure. But I like big games like that."
Both players said they were relieved to earn the win, especially because it came on Weber's home court.
"I kind of feel relieved," said Treseder. "It was a tough game on their court, and I'm excited we pulled it off. We'd rather start off strong — win as many as possible — than try to dig your way out of a hole later in the season."
Ashley Price, who is the youngest daughter of coach Price, said the team's focus was trying to slow Weber's Erin Reichle. The senior guard led all scorers with 22 points, including three 3-point shots.
"It takes your whole team to stop her," said coach Price.
Weber led for the first few minutes, but midway through the first quarter, Layton turned things around and built a 28-20 lead. Reichle and Hannah Charlton hit some big shots to start the third quarter and Weber pulled within five points before Layton, led by Maddi Smith, who finished with 10 points, and Treseder, responded to the Warriors' run.
Both teams had turnovers at critical moments, including the game's final minutes. After Layton lost the ball to a bad pass, Weber turned the ball over on a traveling call. Later, Ashley Price grabbed a key rebound with just five points separating the teams and 31 seconds left in the game. She was fouled and made both free throws. Both Price and Smith had critical defensive rebounds to keep the Warriors scoreless down the stretch.
"We definitely had some breakdowns tonight," said Treseder. "We had some bad stuff happen, made mistakes, but we never gave up. That's the thing about this team — we always fight to the end. Whether we win or lose, we fight to the end."
Price said the mistake the Lancers made was being tentative when they had big leads.
"We started to play not to lose," he said. "And Weber did a good job. We had a great press breaker and at times we couldn't set it up right. ... We just went brain dead sometimes."
Price said Region 1 is so competitive that any loss could be crucial as the teams try to qualify for the league's four playoff spots.
"There are five really good teams in Region 1 and one won't make the playoffs," he said. "You can't afford to lose a game early and have to fight to catch up."
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