This next game is going to be a crazy thing, and I don’t think people look at us as having a chance to to come get this game. —Layton coach Van Price
When the quarterfinals of the 6A tournament begin Thursday at Salt Lake Community College, Region 1 will be well-represented. Fremont defeated Hunter, 58-20, Northridge defeated Cyprus, 50-28, and Layton overwhelmed Kearns 62-24 at the final game of the first round of the 6A state tournament
With a comfortable lead most of the game, the Lancers got everyone into the game as 17 players played, 11 of them scoring. Kaitlyn Viator led Layton with 13 points.
Layton coach Van Price thinks a comfortable opening-round win should have his team fresh for Thursday’s quarterfinals.
“I think it calms you down and gets you relaxed,” Price said. “This next game is going to be a crazy thing, and I don’t think people look at us as having a chance to to come get this game. Tonight we relaxed a little bit and got used to the floor, and we are going to need everybody for the next game.”
Despite the lopsided win, Layton stayed dialed in until the end. With 15 seconds remaining, reserve Megan Hill hit a basket and every girl on the Lancers' bench came to their feet to show support.
“Yeah, to get in the books and some of them scoring and everyone is behind them and cheering for them is a great experience for some of our younger players,” Price said.
Layton started quickly with a Daisy Barker basket. Kearns guard Ruby Maiava hit a free throw and banked in a 3-pointer as the Cougars tied the game at 4-4. From there, the shots for Kearns just wouldn’t drop, and by the end of the first quarter, Layton led 17-4.
And Layton was only getting started.
The Lancers, who had 10 assisted baskets in the first half, sprinted to a 31-4 advantage on the strength of a 27-0 run. The Cougars did not score again until the 2:55 mark, when Carol Lucero hit a 3-pointer.
At halftime, Layton led 36-7. Kearns coach Micaelee Mocke kept her team in the locker room until the start of the second half while telling her team to be aggressive.
“I told them we just gotta be ourselves because that was not us tonight,” Mocke said. “We were kind of running around with our heads cut off and there was no execution, so I tried to tell them to be aggressive and stay in attack mode.”
Kearns was better in the second half, scoring 17 points. Maiava finished with 10 points while Lucy Tuigamala had seven and Lucero five.
“We have a completely different coaching staff this year, so getting to the state tournament was a goal of ours and this experience is good for the program," Mocke said.
While Layton lost its last two regular-season games, the Lancers looked like a different team Tuesday. Layton dominated the rebound battle 39-22, hit 16-20 free throws, came up with 12 steals and assisted on 14 baskets.
Lancers guard Kaitlyn Viator said her team felt prepared coming into the game.
“It almost felt easy because we’ve been preparing for them for the last couple days watching film and getting familiar with our assignments,” Viator said.
Layton’s win sets up an interesting quarterfinal against Copper Hills. The Grizzlies, champs from Region 3, ran past Pleasant Grove with an impressive 66-25 win.