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Taylorsville • Much like the popular amusement park in its neighborhood, this season has been one heck of a roller coaster for Viewmont.
Vikings coach Jeff Emery and his players were thankful not to take another ride during their Region 2 battle against host Taylorsville on Friday. The defending region champs maintained at least a seven-point lead for most of the game and defeated the Warriors 58-46 to crawl back to .500 this season.
"We had to play well so we could stay in the state tournament [hunt] and have a chance to have a region title," Viewmont's McKay Butler said. "We're quite a bit shorter and not as athletic as last year, but we work hard to be ready for every game. This was a really important win for us."
Viewmont (8-8, 2-2) took control early, leading 18-4 after one quarter, and maintained a double-digit lead until late in the third quarter. Rebounding was key, as Taylorsville didn't get many second chances at the basket.
"We'd been outrebounded the last three games, but like I told the kids, you win the rebound game and you win the scoreboard game as well," Emery said. "We dropped two games last week, one at home. They were two very tough losses. We had to come out here on the road and find a way to win."
The Vikings did just that, even withstanding a late Warrior surge. Taylorsville, which trailed by as many as 15 points, trimmed the deficit to 44-37 on Jevin Warren's basket in the fourth quarter. But Viewmont quickly pushed the lead back to double digits and held off the Warriors (8-9, 2-2).
"I don't know why we don't have a better killer instinct," Emery said. "But I thought we did a really good job down the wire of keeping our vision up and getting some high percentage shots. We took care of what we needed to do."
While seven players entered the scoring column for Viewmont, Taylorsville had just four players score. Warren and Sidney Freeman, who combine to average 32 points per game for the Warriors, had 18 and 16 points, respectively. Remi Prince (seven points) and Kia Delacerna (five) also scored for Taylorsville.
Following a difficult preseason, the Vikings might have turned the corner on their season and put themselves back in playoff contention.
"We came in too cocky and struggled at the end, but had a good win [at Davis]," Butler said. "Tonight, it was way important for us to keep the lead. Sometimes we go in slumps, so we had to stay out of runs."
Butler made three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points to lead Viewmont. Jarom Tye added 12 points and McKay Richins had 10 for the Vikings, who outrebounded the Warriors 28-18.