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ST. GEORGE — Anytime Class 3A and Class 5A teams matchup, there is guaranteed to be a chip on the shoulder of the smaller school.
That chip certainly existed between Payson and Viewmont.
After trailing early, the Class 3A Lions held a late lead until Viewmont’s Jake Walker hit a three to send the game to overtime. The Vikings would prevail, 66-58, in the Red Rock Rumble at Dixie State University Saturday night.
“We knew we were going to be in for a battle,” Viewmont coach Jeff Emery said. “I thought we came out good, but then got a little inconsistent. We’re not real good defensively right now, but it’s a work in progress.”
Viewmont opened on a 6-0 run before Payson crawled back on the back of Daniel Reno. Reno gave Payson its first lead on a 3-pointer, and the Lions would lead 17-15 at the end of the first quarter.
"We knew we were going to be in for a battle," Viewmont coach Jeff Emery said. "I thought we came out good, but then got a little inconsistent. We're not real good defensively right now, but it's a work in progress."
The Vikings played back-and-forth basketball in the second quarter, but would take a 32-28 lead with 42 seconds left on a 3-pointer by McKay Butler. Viewmont led at halftime by the same score.
Payson began a comeback charge in the latter part of the third quarter, starting with a 3-pointer courtesy of Reno that brought the Lions to within five. However, a Matt Stringham lay-up gave the Vikings a 43-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Lions made another charge and tied the game at 49-49 with three minutes left in regulation. Then, Reno hit a three to give the Lions a 52-49 lead with 2:02 left. Free throws from both teams created a situation where Viewmont had the basketball as time was expiring. As the game’s final seconds ticked off the clock, Walker hit a three to tie the game and send it into overtime.
“(Walker) is a knock-down, perimeter shooter for us,” Emery said. “He really has not shot the ball as well as he is capable for us to this point, but he stepped up at a big time to knock it down.”
The Vikings dominated the overtime period, punctuating the session with a Butler dunk as time expired.
Payson’s Reno led all scorers in the game with 29 points, while Viewmont’s Butler scored 20 points.