LAYTON — Northridge coach Craig Hansen said he didn't need to say anything special to get his team fired up about playing cross-town rival Layton Friday night.
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The last time the two teams met in the Knights' gym was last season, and the home team lost by 30 points. But Hansen said vengeance wasn't a factor. Neither, he said, was trying to prove the Knights should have been ranked No. 1 by the media.
"I didn't even bring that up," Hansen said after his No. 2 Knights upset the No. 1 Lancers, 62-57. "This is a different group of kids. I don't play those mind games. This is a region home game; it's a rivalry game. It's Layton."
From their starters to their subs, the Knights sure played like a team inspired.
Northridge guard Matt Emadi will keep his spot as the top scorer in 5A with 29 points. He scored the team's first points - free throws - just 15 seconds into the game, and he scored their last points, also free throws.
Emadi finished 14-15 from the foul line and had all three of the Knights' 3-point shots. And while Emadi's play was stunning, he had a lot of help beating an extremely physical and talented Layton team from his equally impressive teammates.
Down the stretch Tyson Stevenson had all six of his points in the final quarter, always when Layton was pulling within a few points. The basket that seemed to secure Northridge's win came with about a minute and a half left after a bad pass on Layton's end. Stevenson intercepted a pass and sprinted to the other end where he made a layup that put Northridge up 56-48. The crowd never sat down after that basket, and although Layton pulled within two points they never really had the game's momentum.
Another Knight, Bradley Barrett, was key on defense and the boards. He finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. He, too, downplayed the importance of the win.
"It's a region rivalry at home," he said. "We have to win those."
And even more impressive, or frightening if you're a team the Knights will play this season, is that they say they're just barely beginning to click. Several starters had injuries at the beginning of the season, so they've only been playing together for about half of the games this season.
"I think it just gave us some depth," Barrett said. "We have subs that come come in and we don't lose a step."
The Lancers had a huge game from guard Trace Applegate, who tried single-handedly to keep them in the game in the final minutes. He finished with 19 points, while teammate Scott Fitzgerald added 12.