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October 2, 2014

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Sierra Vista clinches No. 2 seed with overtime win at Durango

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Sierra Vista basketball player Viko Noma’aea.

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The Sierra Vista High basketball team Friday clinched the No. 2 seed from the Southwest Division in next week’s Sunset Regional playoffs with a 76-71 overtime victory against host Durango.

Claiming the No. 2 seed means Sierra Vista won't have to play two-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman until the regional championship game.

“I can’t be any prouder of the guys that I got right now,” Sierra Vista coach Kent Johnson said. “This is the first time in school history that we’ve gone into the playoffs to have a home playoff game, so we’re treading on new water here.”

Sierra Vista was led by senior guards Viko Noma’aea and Maiscei Grier, and forward Dallin Molina.

“We did a great job of execution,” Grier said. “We changed our defenses a lot to try to confuse them. Those adjustments we made were key to our win tonight.”

The three seniors combined for 70 of Sierra Vista’s 76 points. Noma’aea and Grier each had 24, while Molina had 22.

“My captain, my heart and soul Viko did such a fantastic job of when to pass, when to shoot, when to attack, when to lay back,” Johnson said. “Everyone filled a role and did exactly what they were supposed to do. I couldn’t be any happier.”

Noma’aea was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line, including 8-for-8 in the fourth quarter and overtime with the game hanging in the balance.

“I block everything out,” Noma’aea said of his free throw attempts. “I just shoot. I just focus on the basket. I don’t hear anybody.”

Sierra Vista trailed 45-43 entering the fourth quarter when Noma’aea scored five points in the opening minute, including a 3-pointer and a steal for an easy layup, to give Sierra Vista a 48-45 lead. He had 11 of his 24 points in the quarter.

Molina capped a 13-5 scoring run to start the fourth quarter with an offensive rebound and lay in to give the Mountain Lions a 56-50 lead. Molina scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half.

Just when it appeared Sierra Vista was starting to pull away, Durango answered back with a rare six-point possession.

A technical foul on Sierra Vista’s Xavier Rogers, following a personal foul call, sent Durango’s Greg Gentry to the free throw line for four shots and gave the Trailblazers possession of the ball following the attempts.

Gentry converted three of the four free throws to cut the Durango deficit in half. Then, on the ensuing possession, senior guard Srdjan Bosnjak knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 56.

Following two Noma’aea free throws to give the Mountain Lions a 66-63 lead with nine seconds left in regulation, Durango coach Deshawn Henry called timeout to draw up a play for Gentry.

The play worked to perfection as Gentry hit a contested fade away three-pointer over Noma’aea with a second remaining to tie the game at 66 and force overtime.

In overtime, the Mountain Lions raced out to a five-point advantage on a three-point play by Grier and two free throws from senior guard Gary Jacobs.

For the first time in the school’s near-10-year history, the Sierra Vista will be hosting a playoff game.

“We were very emotional,” Noma’aea said. “This was a big game. As soon as we got back there, we came together and we felt each other’s vibe. Hopefully we can continue this down the road.”

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