LAYTON — Despite what control they had of the game for three quarters, the Layton Lancers eventually had to contend with an orange blur by the name of Mason Hunter.
Hunter, a senior guard, scored 14 of his career-high 22 points on the night in the second half to help Skyridge boys basketball get past Layton in the fourth quarter to win, 68-66, on Tuesday. The win evened up the Falcons’ record at 3-3, while Layton suffered only its second loss and fell to 5-2.
After a scoring surge late in the first quarter by Layton, the Lancers led for the entire second and third quarters. Not long after they had built their lead up as far as 13 points in the third quarter, Skyridge coach Jeff Gardner called a timeout and switched up the Falcons’ defense.
“We went to a full-court press,” Gardner said. “I’m not sure that we necessarily turned them over a lot in the press, but we changed the pace of it, and the momentum changed.”
In the final minute of the third quarter, with Layton up, 43-31, Hunter went on a personal 6-0 run with a string of uncontested baskets through either fast breaks or play design. Junior guard Tate Larson cemented the 9-2 run to close the third quarter with a 3-pointer as time expired.
“Mason was spectacular,” Gardner said. “He’s doing such a great job for us, just leading and playing really solid basketball, and in the second half, he was really special.”
By the start of the fourth quarter, Skyridge had all the momentum, and they cruised downhill for 28 fourth-quarter points and led 62-55 after a 7-0 run midway through the quarter.
Skyridge had a clear disadvantage with no players in the rotation taller than 6-foot-4 going up against the much taller Lancers, but the Falcons attacked the interior and earned themselves 21 free-throw attempts, making 12, while Layton struggled at the stripe, shooting 3-9.
“They got a lot of rebounds, but our kids fought hard,” Gardner said. “There were able to get big rebounds when they needed them.”
Layton senior guard Mekhi Martin led all scorers in the loss with a career-high 26 points, scoring 12 of Layton’s 15 first-quarter points. He scored another 12 in the fourth quarter, mostly unassisted, in an effort to reclaim the lead late.
Both teams will be outside state borders for their next games. Skyridge heads to New Mexico for a tournament, while Layton heads to Las Vegas for the Tarkanian Classic.