by James Tate
Layton High School’s gym was packed and filled with electricity on every possession in one of the most impressive high school basketball atmospheres.
The 2023 UHSAA Mountain America Credit Union 6A Boys Basketball State Championship tournament second-round game
Every basket, missed shot, and foul would seem like the most important of the game. Both teams played with everything they and the game needed overtime to settle these evenly-matched teams.
The #9 seed Thunder enters the game after a season-high 102-point game against the Hunter Wolverines in round one. The Thunder sprinted to a fast start in the first quarter behind sophomore Symon Sua’s 12 points. Sua would hit big shots all game and finished with a game-high 28 points for the Thunder. The #8 seed Layton Lancers stayed close, with sharpshooter junior KJ Miller knocking down three three-point shots in the quarter. The first quarter ended with the Thunder ahead 18-13.
Opening the second quarter Lancer junior Mehki Martin drained a three-point shot for an 18-15 score with the Thunder leading. Sua would quickly respond by finding an open spot for his three-point shot. Senior Quade Fausett would score the Thunder’s next three baskets, and Martin would make another three-pointer for a 28-18 score at the 5:05 mark. Westlake’s lead was up to 13 points after senior Boston Jones made a three-pointer with 4:21 left in the quarter.
Lancer senior forward Crew Harrop cut the lead down to 10 points, 33-23, after a made three-point basket. Elias Parkinson, the senior point guard for the Lancers, made two consecutive steals and layups for a 35-29 score with 1:16 on the clock. Fausett would convert on another three-pointer for the Thunder and give them a 38-29 lead with less than a minute to go. The half ended with a seven-point lead for the Thunder, 40-33.
The intensity picks up in the third quarter
Both teams could sense that this game would be close until the end, and every possession mattered. Thunder senior forward Maverick McManus grabbed offensive rebounds and scored seven points in the quarter. Harrop battled for steals and rebounds and got to the foul line numerous times. Lancer senior center Brock Mendoza tied the game at 50 with a layup and free throw after getting an offensive rebound while being fouled. Parkinson’s layup gave the Lancers their first lead of the game, 52-50, with 2:41 left in the third quarter. The Lancers made up the halftime deficit and tied the score at 54 at the end of the third quarter.
Fourth quarter fouls
Both teams played aggressive defense in the fourth quarter making for fouls called and free throws for both teams. The game saw the Thunder make 13 free throws on 20 attempts, and the Lancers converted 15 free throws on 21 shots. Parkinson led the Lancers in scoring in the fourth quarter with seven points, and Martin converted on all four free throws. Sua made the only field goal for the Thunder in the fourth quarter. All other points came from the free-throw line. The fourth quarter ended with a tie score of 65-65.
In overtime, Sua made the game’s biggest shot with a three-pointer to give the Thunder a 68-65 lead. Mendoza made a layup to cut the lead to one point, 68-67, with 2:40 on the clock. After multiple timeouts, the Thunder was able to close the game out and win the game 73-70 and move on to the quarterfinals at Weber State University.
Sua was on point with his shooting and scored a game-high 28 points. Fausett chipped in 14 points, McManus had timely rebounds and finished with nine points.
The Lancers got balanced scoring, with Parkinson and Miller leading with 17 points scored. Harrop scored 13 and Martin 12 points for the Lancers.
More scores from round 2
(4) Lone Peak 60
(13) Pleasant Grove 56
(12) Davis 46
(5) Riverton 44
(1) Corner Canyon 71
(16) Herriman 55
(2) Cyprus 68
(15) Bingham 60
(10) Farmington 60
(7) Syracuse 63
(3) American Fork 63
(14) Roy 29
(11) Copper Hills 44
(6) Fremont 61
photo courtesy James Tate of Lancers Crew Harrop