With Jarom Tye and McKay Johnson each scoring 14 points, the Vikings were able to move onto the quarterfinals of the 5A boys’ basketball playoffs with a 56-43 win over the Knights Monday night at Weber State University’s Dee Events Center.
“I almost didn’t think we’d have a team (on the floor) for a while,” said Jeff Emery, Vikings coach. “I called at about the end of the first half of the previous game because we were still stuck on the road. I called Kevin (Dustin, associate director for the UHSAA) and told him ‘we might have a team.’ Fortunately we made it and played well and got the win.”
Viewmont took the initial charge in the game by scoring the first five points; however, Northridge’s perimeter shooting helped them stay in the game as they took a 13-12 lead after the first quarter. In the final minute-plus, the Knights hit three straight 3-pointers in order to take the lead, and made two more 3-pointers in the second quarter in order to take a 26-25 lead after the first half.
After that, the Knights went cold from beyond the arc, and Viewmont took advantage by taking the lead in the third quarter.
“We talked about their perimeter shooting and had nightmares about them taking three (pointer) after three (pointer)," said Emery. "They have a lot of kids that shoot well from that range. We knew that they could shoot it so we said if we get beat by those perimeter shots we’ll shake their hands and tell them good job.”
The Knights cold streak, a stretch that only saw them make two 3-pointers the entire second half, had the Vikings pouncing on the opportunity to take the lead. After Tye’s first half performance saw him score 12 of his 14 total points, McKay Johnson took over by scoring eight of the team’s 16 third quarter points in order to take a 41-35 lead once the third quarter ended.
Emery credited Johnson for his strong second half performance afterward.
“Our better post-up guys are Tye and Johnson, and that’s been something we’ve gone to all year,” he said. “We posted up our wing (players) as opposed to posting up our bigger players. Johnson did a great job of doing that when he came in.”
Johnson continued to play well, opening up the fourth quarter by scoring four of the team’s six fourth quarter points. McKay Richins and Kelton Hirsch added to the lead by helping the Vikings get on a 7-0 scoring run, giving Viewmont a double-digit lead they didn’t relinquish.
Another strong emphasis to Viewmont’s scoring was its free-throw shooting. Viewmont made 19 straight free throws before missing one in the fourth quarter. Overall, the Vikings were 20-of-23 from the charity stripe.
“(Johnson) has really come along for us. He’s earned his keep and has been a constant fixture for us the whole year,” said Emery. “We’ll keep doing what we need to do to get him scoring more often.”
Tye had seven rebounds to go along with his 14 points, and Johnson finished with six rebounds and 14 points. Michael Steinicke scored eight points and had six rebounds, and Hirsch scored eight points in the win.
Viewmont's quarterfinal game against Brighton will start at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Dee Events Center.