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High school boys basketball: Viewmont grinds out 5A first round win over Wasatch

Viewmont’s Carson Williams battles Wasatch’s Jaxton Anderson for the ball as they play in first round basketball action at Viewmont in Bountiful on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
Viewmont’s Carson Williams battles Wasatch’s Jaxton Anderson for the ball as they play in first round basketball action at Viewmont in Bountiful on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Scoreless through the first five minutes, Wednesday’s 5A first round game between No. 19 Wasatch and No. 14 Viewmont started out looking more like a Junior Jazz game than a playoff game.

The teams combined to miss their first 12 shots and turned it over three times in ugly start to the game at Viewmont High School.

The Vikings never really got into much of an offensive rhythm, but they were outstanding defensively all night as they pulled away late for the 46-37 victory to advance to Friday’s second round.

“We’ve been successful when we’ve been good defensively, and tonight I thought we were very good defensively. I don’t think they had a lot of easy shots ever,” said Viewmont coach Jeff Emery.

In a game that was tied 29-29 early in the fourth quarter, Viewmont closed on a 17-8 run to advance to set up a game at No. 3 seed Lehi this Friday.

“We’re going to have to make shots against a better more talented team that we’re going to see on Friday,” said Emery.

Even though Viewmont only shot 35% from the field, the offensive execution was good when it needed to be early in the fourth quarter.

With the game tied 29-29, John Barnes and Brash Emery buried back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead to six points with 5:19 remaining in the game.

In some games, a six point lead with five minutes remaining is no big deal. But with Wasatch’s offensive struggles against Viewmont’s stingy defensive, those two 3s were realistically daggers.

Radek Pulsipher led Viewmont with 13 points, with Barnes adding 11 and Scott Noel 10 coming off the bench.

Viewmont’s leading scorer Brash Emery struggled with just five points on 1-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, but he hit the big shot when he needed.

“Brash has been better offensively other nights than he was tonight, he just never got it going until he hit that one three down the wire. Teams are going to take him away and make it hard on him and I thought they did a pretty good job of being physical with him,” said coach Emery.

Against Lehi, everyone will need be sharper offensively than they were against Wasatch, but the Vikings are excited for the opportunity.

“This time of year a win is a win is a win, right? Win and get another chance and lose you have to start planning a menu for the banquet,” said coach Emery.