Layton • As Northridge forward Preston Christensen walked to the bench after fouling out with just more than three minutes left, he reached up to his head, pulled his hair and let out a frustrated wail.
After carrying the Knights to a late lead over rival Layton, a sense of powerlessness set in over Christensen, who knew he'd have to watch the rest of the game from the bench.
But teammate David Adams eased the concern. The senior guard scored seven of his 13 points in the last three minutes to help the Knights outlast the Lancers 64-59 on Friday at Northridge.
"It was frustrating, but I knew my team could pull it out," Christensen said. "There's no one in the state I believe in more than [Adams]. He's a great leader, and we know he'll perform big."
Christensen used a pair of early 3s, followed by barrage of drives to the hoop from the wing, to score 14 of his 19 points in the first half, giving the Knights a nine-point lead at the break.
The lead was down to six when Christensen fouled out, and his exit ignited the Layton bench and cheering section. But Adams kept Layton at a distance by driving to the basket and making a trio of contested layups, answering Lancer buckets that otherwise would have closed the gap.
"I'm a football player. I'm not the best basketball player," said Adams, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the football team last fall. "But I'm a prideful person, so I do my best to step up when the game's on the line. I'll make those shots if I have to."
Adams, who averages 5.25 points, said beating a rival in their first Region 1 game will energize the defending region champion Knights.
"Layton is my favorite game of the year," said Adams, whose five older siblings all played for the Lancers. "I love playing them. It's a scary game, though, because they can always pull something out."
Mike Hibbert and Jarriesse Blackmon were forces in the paint for the Lancers, using a size mismatch to their advantage on both ends of the court. Hibbert, a 6-foot-8 senior, had 18, while Blackmon, a 6-6 sophomore, added 15 points and several thunderous blocks.
Storylines Northridge 64, Layton 59
R Northridge's David Adams, who averages 5.25 points per game, scores 13 against Layton, including seven in the last three minutes of the Knights' win.