RICHFIELD — Bobby Porter has been through plenty of championship seasons as head coach of Layton Christian Academy's boys basketball team.
But Wednesday's fifth title crept him closer toward a Utah state record.
Jerheim Elder had 19 points, including three 3-pointers and the Eagles built up a 36-15 halftime lead before holding off Enterprise 60-53 for their third Class 2A state title in five years at the Sevier ValleyCenter in Richfield.
"These guys are great," Porter joyously told CentraCom after the game. "They took an old man for a ride."
Shorn Solomon added 8 points for Layton Christian (18-6), and Tommie Okubisi, Treay Means, Akeel Felix and Souleymane Barro each scored 6 apiece.
With the win, Porter won his fifth state title — all since 2007 — to move into a tie for the sixth-most in Utah High School Activities Association history. The former Tennessee Tech forward is just three championships behind Provo's Craig Drury, who won a state-record eight championships with the Bulldogs from 1985 until 2008.
But Wednesday's win was anything but easy.
The Eagles jumped out to an 11-4 start after the first quarter and led by double digits at halftime. But Enterprise (15-8) used a 20-13 run through the third quarter to cut the deficit to 14, 49-35 and trimmed the deficit as low as five points in the fourth.
But the Wolves could get no closer.
"I expected that. Enterprise is a great team with a great coach," said Porter, who went from a traditional man-defense to a 1-2-1-1 zone to hold off the rally. "It wasn't lucky that they beat Beaver. Everyone was going to throw some haymakers; it's just a matter if you can stand after that haymaker hits you.
"Being here is a great honor. Nobody wanted to take off their uniform. I just hoped we could weather the storm."
Breckon Nelson led Enterprise with 14 points, and Tyler Hiatt added 13 for the Wolves, who got 9 points on three 3-pointers from Mathew Bowler.
Wednesday's final score was the second-smallest margin of victory during LCA's four-game tournament run. The Eagles first easily dispatched Millard 68-49 before a 63-37 romp over Monticello.
But Porter's team narrowly fended off Parowan 50-46 in Tuesday's semifinals before being outscored 38-24 in the second half against Enterprise.
Among their six regular-season losses are a blowout defeat to national power Wasatch Academy and losses to 5A Timpview, 4A Hurricane and 4A Dixie before going 8-0 in Region 17 play.
But even as Class 2A opponents have argued that the boarding school's international footprint gives the Eagles a distinct advantage over their mostly rural Utah counterparts, LCA has been unable to move out of 2A for years. Two years ago, the Eagles were denied a petition to move to 3A in boys basketball and soccer, with UHSAA officials saying they didn't want to set a precedent of moving schools in between realignment cycles.
"Our goal has not been to just run off championships and those things, which is why four times we've offered to voluntarily move up," LCA administrator Greg Miller told the Standard-Examiner at the time.
North Summit 65, Kanab 48
Marci Richins poured in 30 points, nine rebounds and eight steals to help the Wolves pull away from the Cowgirls for the program's first state title since 1986.
Hadley Richins added 16 points and nine assists for North Summit (19-4), who got 8 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals from Sarah Winters.
Grayce Glover led Kanab (15-4) with 28 points, including six 3-pointers, to go along with four rebounds, three steals and three assists.