Despite fourth-quarter scare, Viewmont stays undefeated in Region 2.
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It was kind of game Viewmont needed, the kind it will remember when the state tournament rolls around.
The visiting Vikings survived a poor-shooting fourth quarter and a tenacious West team to win for the ninth consecutive time, 46-43 on Tuesday night.
A road win decided by one possession came after the Vikings, (16-2, 7-0), No. 3 in the Tribune rankings, had won seven of their previous eight games by double figures.
"I told the girls that good teams find ways to win, even when they probably shouldn't win," Viewmont coach Clint Straatman said. "We have great leadership. We find ways to win, even when [things] aren't going our way."
The Vikings led by 10 points after three quarters by dominating the paint and using penetration to repeatedly muscle closer to the hoop. Guard Caitlyn Larsen (15 points) and Katie Toole (14 points) helped build what appeared to be a safe margin with 8 minutes to play.
But West (9-8, 3-4) wasn't ready to quit. The Panthers, who stayed within five points in the teams' first meeting, used an 11-4 run to pull within three points with 2:52 remaining.
"They knocked down shots and got a lot of ball pressure on defense," Larsen said. "Our shots weren't falling, but we played defense just as hard as they did at the end."
But they managed just one basket a 3-pointer by Maddy Murphy the rest of the way. Murphy, who scored 18 points in the first meeting, finished with 12 on the night, as did teammate Cadie Payne.
"We tried to make sure we did a good job with [Murphy]," Straatman said. "We had some breakdowns, but West came out loose in their own gym."
The Vikings maintained a two-game lead in the region race, ahead of both Kearns and Friday's opponent, Granger.
Storylines Vikings 7-0 in region
R Caitlyn Larsen and Katie Toole combine for 29 points to help Viewmont avoid its first region loss.
• Viewmont's close call comes after it had won seven of its past eight games by double digits.