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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Provo's Kaila Lesa ((#20), Provo's Sila Soifua (#3) and Viewmont's Hannah Simonson fight for the rebound during the first round of the 5A girls basketball championships at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Viewmont won 51-41.
We knew she was going to be big, and we told her that, too. We told her that she was the key and we think she could have even scored more. She was a big key for us. She had a great game. —Viewmont head coach Clint Straatman on forward Melissa Sorenson

TAYLORSVILLE — It took the Viewmont girls basketball team a while to figure things out, during Monday's first-round game against Provo, but once it did, it rolled. The result was a 51-41 win which was fueled by a strong defensive effort and some standout play by forward Melissa Sorenson.

As for the defense, it was all about shutting down Provo's Lavender Briggs, something that wasn't executed all that well in the first half, as Provo's junior star torched the Vikings for 20 first-half points, helping her team to a 28-28 tie at the break.

“We didn’t defend her like we wanted to in the first half, at all,” said Viewmont coach Clint Straatman. “We were tentative — we were nervous about her. We know she’s a great player, and maybe we weren’t that confident. But then we came out in the second half and did a much better job.”

The big job of helping shut down Briggs was placed on Viewmont's Maddie Toole, who Straatman defined as the team's, "Best defender." Although the senior guard didn't score a point, she proved more physical and aggressive with Briggs throughout the second half, holding her to just one field goal made.

“We just picked up our intensity and got a little tighter with her,” Straatman said.

As for Sorenson, she led Viewmont with 19 points while pulling down 14 rebounds. She also seemed to log most her stats during key moments when the Bulldogs appeared poised to make a run.

“We knew she was going to be big, and we told her that, too,” Straatman said. “We told her that she was the key and we think she could have even scored more…But she was a big key for us. She had a great game.”

As for Sorenson, she was quick to credit teammate Mercedes Staples, who struggled some with her shot despite scoring 18.

“I pulled my weight, but I can definitely improve,” Sorenson said. “My free throws weren’t on today and my shooting was half-and-half, but Mercedes just gave me the ball and trusted me to get it done.”

All efforts led to holding Provo without a point in the third quarter until just under three minutes remaining, as Viewmont forged a 36-28 lead. Provo wasn't able to cut that lead to less than three points for the remainder, as Viewmont advanced to the quarterfinal round where it will take on East.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney