OREM — Viewmont’s fast start of its Class 5A boys basketball state tournament opener was quickly eradicated by Westlake’s 10-2 run to end the first half tied at 24 apiece.
Josh Mordue would make sure it didn’t happen again.
Mordue dropped in three second-half 3-pointers en route to 12 points and three assists, and Lewis Johnson scored each of his team-high 19 points in the second half as the Vikings pulled away from the Thunder 66-55 Monday afternoon at Utah Valley University.
Chandler Cox had nine points and seven rebounds for Viewmont (16-7), which advanced to face defending state champion Bingham in Wednesday’s 5A quarterfinal round at Weber State.
“Confidence is big, with me especially,” Mordue said. “They weren’t falling for us in the first half.
“We had confidence to go out and keep shooting, because the next one is going to go in. That was my mindset.”
The Vikings got the fast start, but Westlake pulled to within two when Isaac Lungren was fouled while shooting a three with 1:13 on the clock in the second quarter. The senior canned all three free throws to pull the Thunder within 24-22, then tied the game when Austin Young beat the buzzer with a reverse layup to end the half.
“I’m really happy with the way we played in the second half. The first half was rough,” Johnson said. “Now we just need to keep getting those boards. We’re an offensive team; we’ve always been that way. Shots will fall for us.”
The Vikings took control after the break, capping a 9-0 run to go up 37-28 on Johnson's bucket with just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Thunder refused to go away, though. Lungren's 3-pointer from the right wing — his first field goal of the second half — beat the third-period buzzer to pull Westlake within 43-35 ahead of the final eight minutes.
Mordue drained his third triple of the second half to give the Vikings a 53-40 lead midway through the fourth quarter. He then dished to Johnson for a deep three on the Vikings’ next offensive possession, and Viewmont never looked back.
“Coach didn’t want us to be tentative; that’s the last thing we want to do,” Johnson said. “We came in and pushed it, and knocked them down in the second half. The first half was pretty ugly.”
Mordue was scoreless in the first half, when Westlake’s physical play nicked him in the forehead, and he re-emerged after halftime with a plastic nose guard to protect himself.
“He tells us in practice he’s afraid to take it off because he splashes it,” Johnson said in jest.
Lungren had a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds to lead Westlake (11-13), which opened Region 4 play winless in five games before winning five of its last seven to qualify for the postseason.
Shamon Willis supplied 11 points, three assists and two steals for the Thunder.
“This is big, but we’ve got to keep going,” Johnson said. “We’ve still got three games left.”
Bingham 66, Northridge 41
At Utah Valley, Lleyton Parker scored 17 of his 21 points to help the reigning 5A champion Miners roll past the Knight and into Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
Bingham started on an 18-4 lead when Parker hit back-to-back 3-pointers with 4:13 left in the opening quarter. The Miners’ advantage swelled to 24-7 after the first quarter, and Bingham (21-3) rolled into the state quarterfinals Wednesday at Weber State.
Branden Carlsen’s dunk pushed the Miners’ advantage to 20 points just under two minutes into the second quarter. The Utah commit added another alley-oop slam in the second half, and finished with 14 points.
Dax Milne supplied 13 points for the Miners, and teammate Brayden Cosper scored 10.
Jensen Clifford led Northridge (12-11) with 11 points.