High school girls basketball: Viewmont shocks Skyline in 5A tournament

Viewmont coach Roger Farnsworth has his own theory about high school women’s sports. He wants them to enjoy their summers and then focus on basketball during the season.

They took their pieces early, but Farnsworth thinks the Vikings could hit their peak now, and that set Skyline up for an early Thursday night exit in the 5A State Tournament.

Kristina Gunnell scored 19 points and Kalee Smith scored 14. Viewmont’s sweltering 2-1-2 zone defense forced Skyline out of their usual ways, culminating in a 57-41 victory in the gymnasium of skyline. The second-round win also moved the Vikings forward to face rival Bountiful in a quarterfinal game Monday at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

“We started getting good about two weeks ago,” Farnsworth said. “It takes time to develop chemistry and I’m ‘old school’ about it now.”

Viewmont lost its first six games of the season, including a 62-56 home game against Skyline. But Farnsworth and Skyline coach Samuel White admitted the two teams are very different now. Viewmont improved to 12-12 after their fifth straight win. The Eagles, meanwhile, took advantage of 19 points and 20 points from their leading scorer, Tina Njike, in that game.

Njike then suffered an ACL injury and was lost for the season. White said his playmaker was also limping along and two other of his best players were unavailable as they were playing in a club football tournament.

Still, the Eagles got off to a quick start. Ayla Williams had 20 points and 10 rebounds as Skyline took a 12-5 first quarter lead. After that, however, Viewmont changed his defense and the Eagles never got it. They lost that early advantage midway through the second quarter and made three consecutive ball handling errors to open the second half. Viewmont quickly took a 10-point lead.

“Their defense gave them some momentum and they had a few shots,” White said. “They are known to be a good 3-point shooting team and they showed it.”

Smith had a pair of treys, and Emma Mulitalo and AnnaBella Uffens each nailed one in the second half, when Viewmont had their biggest scoring streak. Skyline never resolved its revenue issues and also committed 23 fouls. At the end of the match, four players had committed four fouls.

Williams, a freshman, was a plus and second Abbie Leonard had 13 points.

Gunnell was the clear leader for Viewmont and put the game away making 6 of 7 free throws. Mulitalo had 10 points and Grace MacKay added six and a team record 11 boards.

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