Viewmont coach Roger Farnsworth has his own unique theory about girls high school sports. He wants them to enjoy their summers, and then focus on basketball during the season.
They took their lumps early, but Farnsworth feels the Vikings may be peaking now, and that set up Skyline for an early exit Thursday night in the 5A state tournament.
Kristina Gunnell scored 19 points and Kalee Smith scored 14. Viewmont’s stifling 2-1-2 zone defense forced Skyline out of its usual habits, and that resulted in a 57-41 victory in Skyline’s gym. The second-round victory also enabled the Vikings to advance to take on rival Bountiful in a quarterfinal matchup Monday at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.
“We started getting good about two weeks ago,” Farnsworth said. “It takes time to build up chemistry and I’m ‘old school’ about that now.”
Viewmont lost its first six games of the season, including a 62-56 home game to Skyline. But both Farnsworth and Skyline coach Samuel White admitted the two teams are much different now. Viewmont improved to 12-12 following its fifth-straight win. The Eagles, meanwhile, took advantage of 19 points and 20 points from their leading scorer, Tina Njike, in that game.
Njike later suffered an ACL injury and was lost for the season. White said his point guard was also playing hobbled and two others of his top players were unavailable because they were playing in a club soccer tournament.
Still, the Eagles got off to a fast start. Ayla Williams had 20 points and 10 rebounds as Skyline took a 12-5 first-quarter lead. After that, though, Viewmont switched its defense and the Eagles never figured it out. They lost that early advantage by midway through the second quarter and made three straight ballhandling mistakes to open the second half. Viewmont soon had a 10-point lead.
“Their defense gave them some momentum, and they made some shots,” White said. “They’re known for being a good 3-point shooting team and they showed it.”
Smith had a pair of treys, and Emma Mulitalo and AnnaBella Uffens each nailed one in the second half, when Viewmont went on its biggest scoring run. Skyline never solved its turnover problems, and also committed 23 fouls. By the end of the game, four players had four fouls.
Williams, a freshman, was a bright spot, and sophomore Abbie Leonard had 13 points.
Gunnell was clearly Viewmont’s leader and put the game away by making 6 of 7 free throws. Mulitalo chipped in 10 points and Grace MacKay added six and a team-high 11 boards.