WEST VALLEY CITY — In a frustrating season in which not a lot has gone right for Viewmont, particularly late in games, the Vikings finally figured out how to make their own luck on Tuesday night in a wild, triple-overtime slugfest at Hunter.
Haden Heath was the hero of the second overtime with a game-tying buzzer beater from the top of the key.
In the third overtime, junior guard Jarom Tye snapped a tie with an off-balanced jumper in the paint with 3.5 seconds remaining, and then Tanner Gamble iced Viewmont's 85-81 victory from the free-throw line a couple seconds later after stealing the ensuing inbounds pass.
"It's about time we found a way to win one than finding a way to lose one," said Viewmont coach Jeff Emery. "It's kind of been a little bit of our Achilles heal. Fortunately tonight we hung in there mentally long enough and guys made some shots in critical times to give us a shot to win."
Prior to Gamble giving Viewmont the four-point lead with 1.8 seconds remaining in the third overtime, neither team had led by more than three points since late in the third quarter.
"We've battled a lot of teams and been in a lot of games, and just it's been one of those years where we haven't been very good at getting over the hump, and hopefully this is a catalyst for us," said Emery.
The Vikings missed two jumpers that could've won it at the end of regulation, while Hunter missed a pair as well in the waning seconds of the first overtime.
With the game tied 75-75 late in the second overtime, Hunter found a gap in Viewmont's switching defense and Trevon Johnson capitalized with an uncontested layup with three seconds left giving Hunter the 77-75 lead. Johnson led all scorers with 26 points.
Viewmont quickly called a timeout, and then another with 2.4 seconds remaining after advancing the ball to midcourt.
Emery drew up several options for the ensuing inbounds play, but was glad to see the ball end up in the hands of Heath near the top of the key.
"He was the guy who had the most confidence down the stretch," said Emery.
Despite being draped by several defenders, Heath's shot hit nothing but net as he was quickly mobbed by teammates. Heath finished with 20 points to lead the Vikings.
Heath scored the Vikings' first four points in the third overtime, giving them an 81-80 lead with 1:01 remaining, but Hunter tied at the other end as Willie Petersen hit 1-of-2 free throws with 45 seconds left.
With the game tied again, Viewmont played for the last shot and Tye's dribble penetration got him into the lane as he sunk what proved to be the game-winning 8-foot jumper. Tye, who finished with 15 points, played all three overtimes with four fouls while several Hunter starters weren't so lucky as they fouled out.
Along with Johnson's 26 points, Dimitri Saliba added 23 for the Wolverines, who made nine 3-pointers, including four in the third quarter as they erased a 10-point Viewmont lead.
Viewmont improved to 2-0 early in Region 2 play with the victory, which Emery told his players was a huge.
"I told our guys if we can come get a win here, I think that's a breakthrough that nobody else will get here, or I'll be surprised if they do, so now we just have to turnaround and hold serve at home against Kearns on Friday," said Emery.