Pleasant Grove • With a seven-point lead in hand after one quarter Thursday afternoon, the Viewmont girls’ basketball team opened the second period on a 10-0 run as the Vikings ran away from Alta in a 65-44 win behind senior Mercedes Staples’ 24-point performance.
“I had a lot more confidence today after coming off a loss on Wednesday,” Staples said. “The whole team came in with a lot more confidence, and we knew we had to step it up. I was just looking to finish my layups and easy chances, and I did that pretty well.”
While Staples scored 10 points in the opening quarter, the Vikings (2-1) were struggling to find much offense outside of their senior guard. That’s when senior center Melissa Sorenson stepped in, scoring eight of her 14 points through the end of the first and into the second quarters as the Vikings surged to a 31-14 lead with 3:38 remaining in the opening half.
“When Mercedes came out, I knew someone had to step up,” Sorenson said. “I wasn’t really happy with the way I played on Wednesday, and I really wanted to make a difference. We had really good ball movement, and I just ended up with the open shots.”
Perhaps more important than her offensive production, Sorenson’s dominant interior defense stymied the Alta attack as the Hawks (0-3) were forced to work outside of the paint for the majority of the game.
“We always look to help when someone drives,” she said about Viewmont’s team defense. “It’s a team sport, and we have to use everyone on the team to have good defense like that. We just all adjust. That’s just how our team is.”
Viewmont relied on its strong team defense into the second half as both teams endured a lethargic start to the third quarter. After a nearly four-minute stretch without a made field goal, Staples was able to get the Vikings offense back on track with eight points in the final two minutes of the quarter to extend the lead to 59-25 entering the fourth.
After getting the end of his bench some playing time in the closing period, Viewmont coach Clint Straatman still was unsure of his team’s identity through three games.
“We’re still trying to figure out how to play with each other,” Straatman said. “We’ve got a long ways to go, but the defense is pretty good — and the offense just feeds off that.”
VIEWMONT 65, ALTA 44
• Viewmont senior guard Mercedes Staples is averaging over 20 points per game through three games after scoring 24 in the Vikings’ 65-44 win Thursday.
• Viewmont senior Melissa Sorenson (14 points) and sophomore Karli Gunnell (10) join Staples as double-digit scorers Thursday.
• Alta senior guard Mina Sete leads the Hawks with 20 points.