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April 24, 2014

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Sierra Vista pulls away from Coronado in the fourth quarter

Maiscei Grier and Viko Noma’aea scored 50 of the Mountain Lions’ 73 points

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Sierra Vista basketball player Viko Noma’aea.

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Transitioning from football to basketball

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer wrap up the football season by discussing Bishop Gorman's second straight state championship and introduce the basketball season. They also discuss who to look out for next football season and debate the merits of sweatpants.

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Sierra Vista guard Viko Noma’aea felt his team “slacked off” in the third quarter of its season-opening game against Coronado Thursday night.

He wanted to start the fourth quarter by setting a new tone. Noma’aea hit a 3-pointer, grabbed a steal and dished an assist in the opening 30 seconds to turn a five-point Coronado lead into a tie game.

Sierra Vista seized on the momentum and used a lopsided fourth quarter to beat Coronado 73-59.

“We came together as a team,” Noma’aea said. “I knew if we picked it up, we would come out with the win.”

The Mountain Lions outscored the Cougars 28-9 in the game’s final eight minutes and overcame a disastrous third quarter.

Much like what Noma’aea did in the fourth quarter, Coronado’s Adam Schmitt did for his team in the third. Coronado trailed 34-23 at halftime but outscored Sierra Vista by 18 in the third behind a little bit of everything from Schmitt.

He had two steals and two blocks in the quarter and scored the majority of his 13 points in that stanza while grabbing a number of rebounds.

“We were being too passive,” Sierra Vista coach Kent Johnson said. “The style we had been working on for months was attacking, and we got away from it.”

Noma’aea suggested that the Mountain Lions used all their energy in the first half. Although some teams in Southern Nevada have already played four games, Thursday was Sierra Vista’s opener.

The Mountain Lions played like a team excited to get on the floor early, jumping out to a nine-point lead in the first quarter behind three 3-pointers from Arbor View transfer Maiscei Grier.

Grier finished with a game-high 29 points.

“He’s going to flat knock down a lot of shots,” Johnson said. “People are going to realize real quick that they can’t sit on Viko or else Maiscei will kill them.”

Grier’s shooting display wasn’t quite the most memorable moment of the first quarter, though. That honor belonged to Noma’aea, who threw down a dunk over a Coronado defender on a fast break with three minutes remaining.

“That was a game changer,” Noma’aea said. “When that happened, my second wind kicked in. I didn’t feel tired anymore after that.”

Noma’aea finished with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists. Coronado dropped its second game of the week after starting the season 2-0.

Michael Louder led the Cougars with 22 points, while Austin Nelson added nine points and nine rebounds.

Gary Jacobs was the only Sierra Vista player besides Noma'aea and Grier to have more than two field goals. Jacobs finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Noma’aea scored nine of his points in the fourth quarter for Sierra Vista.

“He’s our heart and soul,” Johnson said. “He settles us down. If we need a big shot, he can either make a shot or create a shot — one of the two.”

Or both. That’s what he did Thursday.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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