Mountain View head girls basketball coach Gentry Dickerson celebrated her birthday a day early because she knew Tuesday would have a lot going on.

Her Bruins, the No. 20 seed, were headed on the road to face No. 13-seed Salem Hills in the first round of the 5A playoffs.

She couldn’t have been happier with the gift her young squad gave her, however, as Mountain View surged in front early then held on to knock off the Skyhawks, 48-43.

“They bought into the game plan and executed,” Dickerson said. “That’s all I can ask. They executed from the beginning and the defense gave Salem Hills problems.”

The Bruins proved they were ready for some tournament basketball from the start, going on a 6-0 run to start the game and build a lead they would never give up.

“Our adrenaline was so high,” Mountain View sophomore guard Sydney White said. “We had so much momentum. We were executing and making plays, which was so much fun. My teammates were making plays and hitting shots.”

Mountain View was able to capture that same focus and surge to start each quarter. The Bruins scored the first nine points of the second quarter, the first seven points of the third quarter and the first three points of the fourth quarter.

“Those were momentum-builders for sure,” Dickerson said. “The girls listened and knew what they were doing. Sometimes they surprise me as well but I always appreciate the effort and how hard they work.”

Even facing those quick deficits, Salem Hills refused to get down. The Skyhawks just kept battling back throughout the game.

“That’s how we’ve been all year,” Salem Hills head coach Taylor Jones said. “We have faced those deficits before and sometimes been able to come back and win. It was heartbreaking to lose tonight but we went down fighting. This has been a tough, gritty group all year.”

A layup and a foul shot by Skyhawk junior Brekell Gammell cut the Bruin lead to just four points with a couple of minutes left. Salem Hills then forced some turnovers and got some offensive rebounds, but just couldn’t get another basket to go in and give the home team a chance to steal the win.

“That’s just how it goes in basketball,” Jones said.

He lauded the performance of White, who led all scorers with 20 points. White got some key experience as a freshmen when Mountain View made a run to the 2020 5A semifinals and said that made a difference.

“It helped a lot with the nerves,” White said. “I had experienced the pressure and learned that it is just about coming to compete. It makes it fun since we are the lower seed and have nothing to lose.”

Dickerson said White’s steadiness keeps her squad focused.

“She is a basketball player who has played for so many years,” Dickerson said. “Her decision-making so fast. She makes the right decisions and everyone else plays off of that.”

Salem Hills was paced by junior Macklyn Morrison, who knocked down five 3-pointers on her way to 17 points.

Jones is excited about the potential of his underclassmen but gave a lot of credit to the three seniors

Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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