OGDEN — The Viewmont boys basketball team reversed its first round tournament fortunes in a big way, annihilating Taylorsville 70-44 on Monday at the Dee Events Center.
Senior Austin Johnson helped pave the way with a game-high 23 points, leading the Vikings on an early 17-1 run that dictated the course of the game. Viewmont’s big run spanned the latter part of the first quarter and lasted until toward the end of the second. The end result was turning a slight 14-12 lead into a commanding 31-13 margin lead just prior to the half.
“We traded buckets there for a while, and we’re not good enough to just trade buckets, we've got to get stops,” said Viewmont coach Jeff Emery about his team’s start. “But we got re-energized, started getting more stops and that led to more transition opportunities.”
Viewmont’s course of action was in stark contrast to last year’s humiliating 72-42 first round loss at the hands of American Fork. Last year's lesson in no doubt played a part in this year's first-round success, according to Emery.
"We talked about it, and I said, 'Guys, if you don't go into it (aggressively) that first half, you could be done at halftime. You could be out of it if you're not careful’ ” Emery said. "So we didn't really talk about it with a chip on our shoulder, but how we definitely know what it's like to come out and not be ready to go."
One Viking player who was certainly ready to go was Johnson, who scored his team's first 12 points of the game en route to an early 12-6 lead. For the senior, it was his chance at redemption after leaving last year's first round game with an injury very early on.
"I was experienced, having played as a sophomore, and then the 30 seconds I did last year," Johnson said of his fast start. "I just came out with the mindset to score points and play hard."
"He's obviously our experienced (veteran) and the guy we go to a lot and depend on a lot," Emery added. "So you definitely want him on the floor all the time."
Johnson led off, but his teammates quickly caught up to his pace, providing points and great team defense to the tune of 14 steals, which led to numerous fast-break opportunities.
Leading Taylorsville was Jamison Tonge, who scored a team-high 19 points.
With the win, Viewmont advances to the quarterfinals where it will square off against Lone Peak on Wednesday.