Gilbert’s game-winner lifts Syracuse boys over Layton in Region 1 battle

Friday , January 12, 2018 - 10:21 PM

CHAD PRITCHETT, Standard-Examiner Correspondent

SYRACUSE — With the clock running down in a tie ball game, there aren’t many better options than having the ball in senior Brock Gilbert’s hands.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth quarter deficit, that’s exactly where the Syracuse Titans found themselves Friday night.

The 5-foot-8 leading scorer in class 6A (20.8 ppg), took possession of the ball above the top of the key with seven ticks left, beat his defender going left and scooped in the game-winning layup amongst the Layton trees with a second left to give Syracuse an improbable 52-50 victory.

The win gives Syracuse sole possession of first place in early-season Region 1 standings.

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“It was isolation and it was whatever I wanted to do,” Gilbert said. “On Tuesday against Davis (a 66-63 win), I drove to the hole and got fouled, and so I thought try it again to see if I’d get fouled and, if I don’t, then we’ll go to overtime.”

Layton fell behind early, but rallied in the second quarter to take a 26-19 lead into the break. Neither team shot the ball well in the first half, as the two squads shot a combined 2 of 20 from behind the arc. With the Lancer defense focused on Gilbert, the Titans shot only 22 percent.

Layton outscored Syracuse 18-14 in the third and headed into the final period with an 11-point advantage. Even with Layton’s 6-foot-6 Skyler Turner on the bench with foul trouble for most of the evening, the Lancers seemed to be cruising to an important league road victory.

Chase Potter put the Lancers up 46-33 with 7:39 to play, but Layton would only score four points the rest of the way. The Lancers started resorting to one-on-one play, while the Titans began converting its scoring opportunities.

“Honestly, it was one of our players, Rudy Casias,” Gilbert said about the rally. “He stepped up, knocked some huge shots down, brought us back and turned the whole momentum.”

Casias helped the Titans go on a 10-0 run with eight straight points to get back in the game. He hit a 3-pointer with six minutes left, followed with another bucket before converting another 3-point shot to pull Syracuse to within 46-43 with 4:37 left.

Layton went back up 50-46 with 3:47 to play, but wouldn’t score again. Syracuse’s Jacob Godfrey made a bucket to cut the deficit to two at the 2:51 mark, while another Casias basket caught the Lancers at 50.

With 20 seconds left, the Lancers got a good look but a Truman Brown jumper missed, setting the stage for Gilbert’s heroics.

The Lancers were led by Collin Jeppson and Brown, who each had 11 points. Brooks Kokkola joined them in double figures with 10.

Gilbert finished with 22 points, 15 coming in the second half. Casias scored all 10 of his points in the final stanza, while Austin Kirkman also had 10.

“(Layton) did an excellent job trying very hard to take Brock out of the game,” Syracuse coach Troy Anderson said. “(Brock) is one of a kind ... Brock does things that I’ve never had a player do before.”

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