Bountiful • Toes placed on the free throw line, Viewmont forward Melissa Sorenson started at the rim and let the noise from Bingham’s cheering section dissipate in her mind.
“Practice with Mercedes,” she told herself. “Just draining them.”
Of course, this wasn’t free throw reps with teammate Mercedes Staples. This was a tied game with 1.5 seconds on the clock. Sorenson had made her first free throw to tie the game before the Miners called timeout, which she said took some of the pressure off. But another made free throw could end a game that had left her fuming with frustration.
The result? Swish.
Viewmont’s last-second comeback, culminating in Sorenson’s two free throws, secured a 48-47 victory on the Vikings’ home court Wednesday night. Viewmont extended its winning streak to eight games and remained undefeated at home.
“That takes a really, really confident player who knows she’s capable of doing that,” Viewmont coach Clint Straatman said.
Sorenson, who finished the night 4 of 7 from the line, was rewarded with the final two free throws after executing an inbounds play exactly to plan.
From the sideline, Sorenson passed to Staples and broke into the paint. Staples, double-teamed, fought her way under the basket before kicking it back to Sorenson. Sorensen went up for the shot and drew a foul.
“As soon I saw it was you, I knew you were going to make them,” forward Emma Carr told Sorenson outside the locker room after the game.
Carr wasn’t alone in her faith in Sorenson’s free-throw shooting. After Sorenson made the fist one, Bingham called a timeout, and Straatman used that time to lay out the plan for when she made the second.
“Straat just said, ‘She’s going to make this, and then don’t foul, deny the ball and the game is solid,’ ” Sorenson said.
To put Sorenson on the line with a change to win the game, however, Viewmont first needed a fourth-quarter rally.
The Vikings fell behind 21-20 before halftime, and the Miners opened the second half on an eight-point run to gain separation for the first time in the game.
A combination of scrappy defense by Bingham and missed layups and rebounds by Viewmont helped the Miners maintain that lead for the majority of the second half.
In the final half-minute of the game was a back-and forth free throw shootout.
“It was just a rough game,” Sorenson said. “They were being physical to us, and we were just letting them push us around, but then the fourth quarter we finally got our act together and we finally worked as a team, and so that made the win so much sweeter.”
Viewmont finished the game on a 7-0 run to take its first lead since the first half. Staples, who Bingham held to 11 points in the first three quarters, pulled her team back into the game with a 12-point fourth quarter.