Box score

Even playing against the No. 1 team in the tournament, No. 4 Corner Canyon wasn’t about to let anyone forget who the defending state champions were.

The Chargers pounded the paint with a clear height advantage and cruised to a dominant 89-63 win over Layton in a star-studded semifinal matchup at the Huntsman Center Wednesday to advance to a second straight 6A state championship game — and earn a chance to defend the crown.

“We’ve preached all year with these kids that defense wins,” Corner Canyon coach Dan Lunt said.

“Layton is a great team. They spread the floor and can shoot exceptionally well, and we had to run them off the 3-point line. Our kids perfected our game plan and did a great job defensively. Defense travels, and defense wins.”

After Layton senior Mekhi Martin netted a turnaround jumper in the first possession of the game, pretty much everything else went the Chargers’ way. Corner Canyon held Layton to just nine assists for the game and 23 of 60 from the floor.

Corner Canyon shot over 50% from the field (35 of 61) and had 21 assists to just eight turnovers as the Chargers ran out to a 20-point lead in just the second quarter.

Beyond shooting 11 of 22 from the 3-point line, Corner Canyon’s real dominance showed up around the hoop, where senior Derell Desire was unstoppable. He scored 16 points and had eight rebounds, shooting 7 of 9 from the floor.

Senior USC signee Brody Kozlowski added 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and senior Taylor Feroah put another 18 points. The four stars shot a combined 61% from the floor.

“We knew (Layton) didn’t have an answer whether it was Derell or Brody,” Lunt said. “We have two dominant post players, one of which can go inside and out, and that was the game plan, to attack the paint.”

Desire was one of four players in double figures for the Chargers as senior guard Isaac Neibaur had one of his best performances of his career, logging just his second career double-double with a team-high 21 points and 14 rebounds.

“When they doubled, I just found my teammates, and we played well together,” Desire said. “It was a great time. I had fun.”

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Already ahead of the Lancers at the end of the first quarter, 23-13, Corner Canyon went on an explosive 17-2 run that so convincingly decided the outcome that Corner Canyon’s student section opened the book on its victory chants with 4:45 still remaining in the first half.

“The greatest thing was how our boys communicated on defense and how we shared the ball,” Lunt said.

Layton senior David Katoa, a Utah signee, led his team with 14 points though he struggled shooting with a 3-of-12 clip. Martin, who signed with Snow College, finished with 11 points.