BOUNTIFUL It wasn't too long ago that Viewmont resided at the top of Region 1 in both boys and girls basketball. Only three seasons ago, Sol Jensen was leading the boys' team to a runner-up finish to Fremont and Arial Salvo was keeping the Lady Vikings in the upper tier of the region.
These days Viewmont is simply looking to keep its head above water in Region 1.
Both the boys and girls programs have experienced their share of disappointment in the past couple of seasons. Whether they reclaim past hoops glory will come down to whether or not they can finally put the pieces together this winter.
Here is a look at each team as the 2007-08 season gets under way:
BOYS: If the Vikings could ask for any gift this Christmas, it would probably be a generous dose of consistency.
Viewmont sports a 2-2 record heading into the second week of December. But, if not for a couple of awful quarters against Alta and Pine View, the Vikings could easily be undefeated.
In the season opener against the Panthers, Viewmont went 10 minutes between baskets in the first half. The long drought allowed Pine View to build up an 11-point lead by halftime enough of a cushion for the Panthers to withstand a second-half rally.
Then against the Hawks, Viewmont lost an early lead after being held to five points in the second quarter.
Senior forward Davis Emery attributes those bad quarters to poor shot selection and a lack of patience on offense.
"We play really good at times and then look like a totally different team at other times," Emery said.
Still, the fact Viewmont is about 16 minutes away from matching the spotless starts of region rivals Weber and Davis foreshadows that this season could finally be one where it climbs the Region 1 ladder again.
The Vikings are one of the youngest teams in the region, with only three seniors in the lineup. Emery and Tommy Barrett are the only returning starters and key parts of the offense.
Barrett has evolved into the main option in the post, despite his 6-foot-4 frame. His smaller size doesn't keep him from being the team's second leading scorer (12.8 points per game) or top rebounder.
Emery and junior guard Chase Christensen form a nice 1-2 punch on the perimeter. Christensen leads the team in 3-pointers made, with five alone in 58-41 rout of American Fork. Emery leads all scorers with 14.5 points per game.
Viewmont is counting on using outside shooting and speed to neutralize bigger opponents later in the year.
"Size does matter a lot, but I think we'll do fine without it this year," Barrett said.
GIRLS: After enduring a three-win season a year ago, there is not much the Lady Vikings can do except move upward.
A new coaching staff is in place, hoping to revive a program that was quite competitive up until a couple of years ago. So far, they have had to endure a winless start though not nearly as bad as the 11-game losing streak that crippled any chance for momentum in 2006-07.
With some close losses and four seniors back, the Vikings are hopeful they can exceed their three-victory total from last year.
Viewmont isn't looking for anything grandiose such as winning a region or state title. The Vikings simply want to make enough progress to give the program something to build on down the road.
"We're trying to establish a foundation for future years," first-year head coach Bill Rawlins said.
Those plans are reflected in sizable contributions from several younger players. Freshman Tyler MacFarland has rotated with junior Amy Black in the starting lineup. Liz Smart, another junior, is the team's No. 3 scorer behind seniors Stacie Graham and Marissa May.
While a smooth road could lie ahead, the current one is littered with potholes. After four games, Viewmont's offense ranks as the second-worst in 5A. The Vikings are scoring an anemic 33.5 points per game, a total only two points better than last-place Copper Hills.
No player has scored more than 11 points in a game and only two, Graham and May, have reached double figures in any game so far.
Even with some early struggles, this group still believes improvement will come sooner rather than later."With our positive outlook, and the things we have planned for the future, it's rubbing off onto the girls," assistant coach Marissa Fox said. "It's made an easy transition for all of us."
Viewmont Vikings boys basketball
League: Region 1
Last season: 6-16, fifth in Region 1, lost in 5A first round
2007-08 Predicted finish: Fourth
Head coach: Jeff Emery
Assistant coaches: Jason Smith, Brad Christensen, Scott Lieber, Kyle Nelson
Key returning players: Davis Emery, 6-2 forward, Sr.; Tommy Barrett, 6-4 forward, Sr.; Chase Christensen, 6-0 guard, Jr.; Kyle Dehart, 6-2 guard, Jr.
Key newcomers: Spencer Jensen, 5-11 guard, Jr.; Michael Evans, 6-6 forward, Sr.; Sennett Fraughton, 6-2 forward, So.; Travis Frey, 6-1 guard, Jr.
Nov. 29 Pine View 55, Viewmont 45
Nov. 30 Viewmont 50, Woods Cross 43
Dec. 4 Alta 61, Viewmont 52
Dec. 7 Viewmont 58, American Fork 41
Dec. 18 Orem at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Dec. 20 Viewmont at Lone Peak, 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 Bountiful at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Jan. 4 Viewmont at Clearfield, 7 p.m.
Jan. 8 Weber at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Jan. 11 Viewmont at Layton, 7 p.m.
Jan. 15 Viewmont at Fremont, 7 p.m.
Jan. 18 Davis at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Jan. 22 Viewmont at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Jan. 25 Northridge at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 Clearfield at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 Viewmont at Weber, 7 p.m.
Feb. 5 Layton at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Feb. 8 Fremont at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 Viewmont at Davis, 7 p.m.
Feb. 15 Syracuse at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Feb. 19 Viewmont at Northridge, 7 p.m.
Viewmont Vikings girls basketball
League: Region 1
Last season: 3-17, sixth in Region 1, did not qualify for the postseason
2007-08 Predicted finish: Seventh
Head coach: Bill Rawlins
Assistant coaches: Melissa Fox, Chantal Gill
Key returning players: Stacie Graham, 5-10 forward, Sr.; Shae Madison, 5-6 guard, Sr.; Marissa May, 5-7 guard, Sr.; Liz Smart, 5-8 forward, Jr.; Amy Shore, 5-5 guard, Soph.
Key newcomers: Jackie Coons, 5-4 guard, Sr.; Amy Black, 6-0 center, Jr.; Hayley Johnson, 5-5 guard, Jr.; Tyler MacFarland, 6-2 center, Fr.
Nov. 20 Jordan 59, Viewmont 29
Nov. 27 Bountiful 53, Viewmont 37
Nov. 29 Hillcrest 46, Viewmont 40
Dec. 6 Copper Hills 37, Viewmont 28
Dec. 11 Woods Cross at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Dec. 13 Cyprus at Viewmont, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 18 Viewmont at Syracuse, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 20 Northridge at Viewmont, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 28 Viewmont at Bonneville, 1 p.m.
Jan. 4 Clearfield at Viewmont, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 8 Viewmont at Weber, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 11 Layton at Viewmont, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 Fremont at Viewmont, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 18 Viewmont at Davis, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 Syracuse at Viewmont, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 25 Viewmont at Northridge, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 Viewmont at Clearfield, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 Weber at Viewmont, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 Viewmont at Layton, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 Viewmont at Fremont, 5:30 p.m.
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