Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL – The Bountiful Braves boys’ basketball team held the Viewmont Vikings to five points in the second quarter of Friday night’s game at Viewmont High School.
The staunch second quarter defense was followed by a strong offensive effort in the second half, as the Braves scored 37 points en route to a 60-44 win.
“We were able to change defenses a little easier tonight than we were a few nights ago,” said Braves coach Mike Maxwell. “We’re doing baby steps just trying to get better and I saw some of that tonight.”
The Braves took the first quarter lead thanks to a six-point first quarter effort by Zac Seljaas. Seljaas’s points came from a pair of 3-pointers, and Jordan Bleak hit another 3-pointer to help the Braves take a 14-11 lead.
Despite a low-scoring second quarter by both teams, the Braves were able to extend their lead to seven points after the first half. Sam Merrill led the scoring charge with four of the Braves nine points, and the defense held Viewmont to five points.
“That’s kind of nerves, and maybe a little bit of rivalry stuff,” said Maxwell. “We’re on the road, and that makes it tougher. You got to get through that, but we did enough to win and that’s important too.”
The third quarter was a high-scoring affair on both sides as the Braves and Vikings combined for 35 points. Merrill scored eight of his game-high 16 points in that quarter, and Seljaas, Bleak, Jeff Pollard and Trevor Lloyd helped Bountiful keep its lead at eight points entering the final quarter.
Bountiful scored 19 points in the final eight minutes to pull away from the Vikings, and notched its second win in as many games to start the season.
“They’re a good team,” said Maxwell of the Vikings. “That’s a quality basketball team with a lot of weapons and a lot of shooters. You’re not to hold them down every quarter; they’re the type of team that’s going to make runs.”
The difference in Friday night’s win, said Maxwell, was Bountiful’s ability to overcome Viewmont’s scoring runs. Overall; however, Maxwell was happy that the team is playing strong to start the season.
“I like their intelligence and their ability to get the lead and never give it up,” he said. “You saw that tonight. We got a four, five, six point lead, and then exploded for a 16, 18 point lead. That’s a quality effort.”
Merrill finished with seven rebounds and six assists to go along with his point total. Seljaas scored 14 points and had six rebounds, and Lloyd finished with 11 points in the win.
For Viewmont, McKay Johnson had 14 points and seven rebounds, and McKay Butler scored 11 points with six rebounds in the loss.
Viewmont will remain at home Tuesday night to host the Riverton Silver Wolves. Bountiful will travel to Layton High School to face the Lancers the same night.