Syracuse • The seconds were ticking down Friday night when Syracuse High coach Troy Anderson opted to take a timeout with 27 seconds on the clock in a tied Region 1 contest.
And right when the Titans were granted the stoppage, Syracuse’s Kingston Williams swished a 15-footer.
But no matter because the home team still had at its disposal one of the best one-on-one weapons in Utah high school boys’ basketball this year.
Senior Brock Gilbert didn’t disappoint.
He actually had about four Layton players try to stop him to no avail.
Gilbert’s layup through traffic as time expired gave Syracuse a big 52-50 victory after overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit.
“There was three or four [defenders], and they were tall, long dudes,” said Gilbert, who scored 22 points. “I brought it up, and they all tried to block it, so I brought it back down, and I knew it would go in.”
Coach Anderson said: “Honestly, he’s one of a kind. In many years I’ve been doing this as a head coach and an assistant, he ranks in the top three as far as players I’ve had the opportunity to work with. Brock does things that I’ve never had a player do before. He’s so good with both hands. Other than watching him shoot a jump shot, you wouldn’t know if he was right-handed or left-handed.”
For the record, Gilbert is a 5-foot-8 lefty. He dished out six assists and managed to grab seven rebounds for Syracuse (8-6, 3-0).
Austin Kirkman also scored a dozen points as he and Gilbert were the primary scorers for most of the game. It was another player, senior guard Rudy Casias, who was a major contributor in helping the Titans overcome the double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter.
Gilbert uncorked a 3 then Syracuse got a drive and layup from Casias. Gilbert followed by finding his teammate open, and Casias drained a 3-pointer to make the score 46-43 with 4:30 left.
Casias later hit an 8-foot pull-up jumper to tie the game at 50-50 with 2:26 remaining.
“Unbelievable. He’s been a varsity baseball player since coming here, so he’s used to the competition,” Anderson said about Casias. “He’s a guy we challenged at halftime to step up and do some scoring. We have confidence in all of our guys.”
Layton (8-4, 2-1) got 11 points apiece from Truman Brown and Collin Jeppson, while Brooks Kokkola scored 10.
The Lancers were on a roll with a field goal from Kokkola and a 3 by Conner Hill to end the third quarter with a 44-33 advantage. Layton got a bucket by Chase Potter for the first basket of the fourth before everything turned around.
“Obviously they did a good job of staying in attack mode,” Layton coach Kelby Miller said. “We kind of took our foot off the gas, took questionable shots. We weren’t smart with the basketball. We were terrible at the foul line tonight. You shoot less than 50 percent at someone else’s place to ice the game. Yeah that’s big.”
SYRACUSE 52, LAYTON 50
• Brock Gilbert scores 22 points and makes the game-winner for Syracuse when he drives to the hoop for a layup as time expires.
• Layton led by 13 points early in the fourth quarter.
• Austin Kirkman scores 12 points and grabs nine boards for the Titans, who also get eight points in the last six minutes from guard Rudy Casias.