This is a creative team. We knew that if we defended well, we would be OK. We just had to do a good job of hitting our shots. —Layton coach Kelby Miller
OREM — The Layton Lancers relied on their size and talented starting lineup to put together another great season and fifth-straight state tournament berth.
The Lancers did it again Tuesday evening, with a little bit extra from Truman Brown, and bounced the Cyprus Pirates in the opening round of the 6A boys tourney at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center.
Brown scored 24 points and the Lancers’ height — and length — allowed them to harass Cyprus all night and they rolled to a 69-51 victory to give Region 1 a four-team sweep over Region 2 in first-round action.
Layton will play Westlake, a first-round upset winner over Riverton, in a quarterfinal game Thursday at the University of Utah.
“We knew the other region teams had already won, so we wanted to come out and represent well,” said Brown, who connected on 5-of-6 3-point shots and headlined Layton’s steady effort in the late game on an unfamiliar court.
“There were some No. 1s that went home tonight,” said Layton coach Kelby Miller, whose squad improved to 15-7 overall. “This is a creative team. We knew that if we defended well, we would be OK. We just had to do a good job of hitting our shots.”
Brown got the team going with a 3-pointer just a minute into the game, but then Potter got open for a couple of layups and Kokkola scored for a 12-5 lead. Cyprus rallied and stayed close, trailing only 26-23, until Potter and Caleb Cluff scored and Turner made a pair of free throws.
Layton led 34-26 at halftime after the Pirates’ Cody Meza made a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and Cyprus couldn’t extend its momentum and the Lancers built their lead to 50-34 after three quarters and as many as 24 points near the end.
Despite the 18-point final margin, Cyprus coach Tre Smith praised his team, which finished 14-10 overall and earned a No. 3 seed.
“That (Layton) is a big, big team,” he said. “This is our first time (in the state tournament) in eight years, so we’re happy to be here. Now we want the kids to understand that we should be here every year and get some wins.”
The Pirates hustled throughout and needed a lot of extra effort to get their shots over the Lancer defenders. Josh Amasio topped Cyprus with 12 points and Skyler Case had 10. Logan Hendrickson didn’t score, but grabbed four rebounds and was almost always in the middle of the action, but was limited to 12 minutes due to foul trouble.
Bruce Smith grew up in Boise and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high school sports articles for the Deseret News.