Titans lay claim to a No. 1 seed
Syracuse • The Titans played cool afterward, as if it was just another game.
Winning the Region 1 title is no small matter, but Tuesday's 52-37 victory over Layton was just another step to the goal that's burned within the Syracuse girls' basketball team since they lost the state title a year ago.
So after winning their 61st straight regular-season game and completing their third straight undefeated region season, the Titans are ready to really get rolling.
"The playoffs are a whole new season," senior Brittney Martin said. "We're starting all over. We haven't forgotten what happened last year, just so we make sure it doesn't happen again."
Syracuse closed out the regular season by leading its top region challenger all night, sealing an impressive legacy for this class of seniors. Martin led the team in scoring with 15 points, but also dished out assists all over the court. She helped key a second-half run that wore down the Lancers and assured victory.
Layton did press the Titans in the third quarter, as 3-point shooting helped keep it in the game. But ultimately Syracuse's defense a suffocating combination of full-court press and man-to-man left them in the dust.
"Our defense was spot on tonight," junior Courtney Starks said. "We were flying around and really getting to them."
In the first half, Starks was the spark for Syracuse. The Lancers worked to keep star guards Martin and Makenlee Williams on the perimeter, so the Titans passed to Starks in the post. With a few smooth moves, she posted 13 points in the game and was also strong on the glass for rebounds.
"She's the kind of inside presence we've been looking for, and she's helped give us that all year," coach Rob Reisbeck said. "She compliments what Brittney and Makenlee do really well, and they couldn't stop her."
By dressing down Layton, the Titans clinched a No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Syracuse 52, Layton 37
R Brittney Martin leads with 15 points and several assists in Syracuse's win.
• The Titans complete their third straight undefeated region season.