OGDEN — As victorious Layton coach Kelby Miller walked off the court late Tuesday night at the Dee Events Center, he turned to some of his family in the stands and simply said, “survive and advance, that’s what it’s all about.”
That’s exactly what his Lancers did against a gritty, upset-minded Hillcrest team in the first round of the 5A state tournament.
Trailing by four points with three minutes remaining, Layton scored the game’s final 11 points to pull away for the 61-54 victory.
“State tournament, anything’s going to happen. I thought our kids showed a lot of composure in that one to come back. You’re never really out of it. We hung around, hung around and finally sealed the deal at the end,” said Miller.
Boston Armitstead put Layton ahead for good when he drained an angle-right 3-pointer with 1:52 remaining for the 55-54 lead. It was Armitstead’s third 3-pointer of the game as he finished with 13 points.
Julian Blackmon led Layton with 19 points to go along with his seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. His dribble penetration caused problems for Hillcrest throughout the night, but particularly in the fourth quarter when things got tight.
“That’s just Julian being Julian. He’s a hard guy to stop, he’s a hard guy to stay in front of. He can get into the paint and help us out a little bit there. He did a great job,” said Miller.
Jarriesse Blackmon added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Lancers, who advance to Wednesday’s quarterfinals and will face Region 3 champion Bingham at 2:30 p.m.
Eli Walch and Stockton Ashby combined for 23 points to lead Hillcrest, which played a fantastic game until the final few minutes when the shots stopped dropping and it committed three costly turnovers.
Miller said his players clearly had some first-game jitters in the 5A nightcap at Weber State, but credited Hillcrest with playing a good game and mixing up its defenses from what Layton had mostly scouted on film.
James Edward is the Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer.