Prep boys' basketball: Syracuse sneaks past Layton
Layton • The 30-foot desperation heave from Layton's Dallin Johnson fell short as the buzzer wailed.
In the ensuing chaos of Syracuse players celebrating on the court, Titans center Daniel Pehrson worked his way to the front of the Syracuse cheering section and pounded his chest.
Pehrson had just played one of the finest games of his high school career.
The Titans, as it turned out, needed every one of the 6-foot-8 senior's contributions.
"Daniel had his best game of the year, bar none," Titans coach Justin Nelson said.
"Not only scoring, making some big shots, but playing defense and making it tough on them."
After blowing an eight-point fourth-quarter lead, the Titans escaped with a 55-54 road win over Layton on Friday in a matchup of teams looking to stay in contention in talented Region 1.
With 17 points in a dominating effort in the post, it was Pehrson who led the way for the Titans (2-2 in Region 1). But it was guard Michael Phelps who scored the game-winning point for the second game in a row.
The Lancers (1-3 in Region 1), after trailing since midway through the second quarter, had rallied to tie the game with 40 seconds left. But Phelps slipped behind the Lancers' defense on a baseline cut and got fouled attempting the layup.
Phelps made the first free throw to put the Titans up by one before missing his second shot. Phelps had made the game-winner in Syracuse's win over Weber last Friday.
"I knew I would at least make one," Phelps said, "and at least it was the first one so I didn't psyche myself out for the second one."
The Lancers had one last chance to win it, but Johnson's long 3-pointer was off the mark.
Layton was without dynamic forward Jarriesse Blackmon, who has whooping cough, and senior center Mike Hibbert got into foul trouble early, which forced the senior to sit for much of the first half.
With Blackmon and Hibbert off the floor, Pehrson was able to control the paint on both ends of the court for much of the game.
"We've been planning around [Hibbert] all week," Pehrson said. "When he got in foul trouble, it made it a lot easier for me to get to the hole." Syracuse 55, Layton 54
• Pehrson's 17 points and dominating effort in the post led the Titans to a 55-54 win over the Lancers.
• The Lancers played without forward Jarriesse Blackmon, and leading-scorer Mike Hibbert got into foul trouble early.
• The Titans moved to 2-2 in Region 1 to strengthen their postseason hopes.