Vikes answer coach’s challenge to finish

Jan 24 2014 - 11:47pm

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BOUNTIFUL -- What started out with a SportsCenter-worthy alley-oop dunk by Layton's Jarriesse Blackmon quickly settled into a scrappy, grind-it-out Region 1 dogfight.

It took 10 ties, 15 lead changes and an overtime session before Viewmont was able to shake the Lancers and earn a 62-57 home court victory on Friday. The defeat snaps the Lancers' three-game winning streak.

"I challenged them a little bit before the start of the ball game, because we've had a chance to win at Lone Peak down the wire, we had a chance to against Davis the other night, we were in the ballgame until the late third or early fourth against Bountiful," Viewmont coach Jeff Emery said. "The point I made to them and kind of the challenge I put up at them, was that it's great to be in ball games against great teams, but finishing second in athletics doesn't count. I said we've got to finish. We've got to play well enough to be in the ball game and have a chance, but we have to step up as a team and finish when we have those opportunities. I thought they really did that tonight.

"It was a hard fought game. It was back-and-forth. We hit a shot, they hit a shot. They make a run, we make a run. It was a great, great high school basketball game. I was proud of our guys for hanging in there and playing to win. I thought was a big stride as a team."

While the game was a battle of wills, the formula for the Vikings, despite the Lancers converting seven more field goals, was simple. Viewmont pounded the bigger Lancers on the boards (37 to 25) and pulled down 12 offensive rebounds compared to only three for Layton, for 18 second chance points. Viewmont was also solid from the foul line, connecting on 28-of-35 attempts, while Layton was only 5-for-10.

"(Rebounding) is a badge of honor for us," Emery said. "If this is not the best then it's one of the best rebounding teams that I've ever coached. We have some guys with a little bit of length and athleticism, but we have guys that go consistently. That's really been one of our strengths all year long."

The Lancers were forced to play most of the first three quarters without the services of Blackmon, who found himself saddled with foul trouble. The junior, who averages 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds, picked up his second foul with 1:55 to play in the first quarter and went to the bench for the remainder of the first half. He was then whistled again on a loose ball with less than a minute gone in the third period.

Despite added defensive attention with Blackmon on the bench, Layton stayed in the game with solid play by 6-foot-9 Mike Hibbert inside. The senior scored 13 first half point as the two squads went into the locker room tied at 28.

A Dallin Watts bucket late in the third period gave the Lancers their biggest lead of the night at 42-37. However, in the fourth, the Vikings slowly whittled away.

Viewmont finally caught the Lancers and went ahead as McKay Johnson converted a three-point play, while Layton could only muster two points for nearly the first five minutes of the final period. A Blackmon free throw knotted the score at 48 with 1:43 to play and the Vikings held for the final shot, but could only come away with a wild three-point attempt at the buzzer.

In the overtime, Johnson hit a pair of free throws to put the Vikings up for good, 50-48. Viewmont didn't manage a field goal during the extra session, instead converting 14-of-16 charity tosses to hold off the Lancers. Layton had a chance to tie, with less than five seconds to play, but Blackmon's three-point attempt fell short.

Blackmon finished with five points and five rebounds in 19 minutes. Hibbert played all 36 minutes, scoring 21 points to go with six boards. Brandon Hill drilled four three-pointers for 12 points, while Caleb Harrob scored nine, also all from behind the arc.

The Vikings were led by Kelton Hirsch, who averages only six points per game. He dropped in 21, including 11-of-15 from the free throw line. Aaron Dalton was also in double figures with 12, while Johnson and McKay Butler added 10 apiece.

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