ST. GEORGE – As the road to Region 9 playoffs heats up, who will be knocked out, and who will be left standing?
With only six games left in the regular season teams are starting to separate themselves into playoff contenders and pretenders.
We have seen teams go from unranked positions with a losing record to winning five straight games and landing the no. 2 ranking in the state. We have seen teams go from ranked and to unranked and on four game losing streaks. We have seen teams come in with good non-region records fall short in Region play. And we have seen teams ride the roller coaster of winning they were not expected to and losing games they were expected to win.
The one consistent has been the Desert Hills Thunders, the No. 1 team. They have been in that position from the start of the season and even with one Region loss they have stayed there every week.
The Thunder are ranked No. 1 in 3A and are tied for first with Dixie High. The Thunder look to continue their consistence in the second half of the season and get the No. 1 seed in the Region going into the state playoffs.
Many outsiders think all the Thunder have are Tyler Ott and Brandon Simister, but the Thunder are much more of a team than that. The Thunder have five players averaging more than six points-per-game and continue to win as a team scoring a Region best 61.5 points per game.
The Dixie Flyers start the second half of the season tied with Desert Hills for first, but would start the playoffs as the 2 seed if they started today because of their loss to Desert Hills.
The Flyers came into Region play in on a losing streak with two starters out because of injury. The Flyers started Region play with a three-point loss to Desert Hills, but bounced back with an upset win at No. 4 Hurricane.
The Flyers have not looked back since then, surprising Cedar by playing Walker Swenson who was thought to be out for a few more weeks. With the win over Cedar the Flyers beat back-to-back teams ranked in the top five of the state. The Flyers have continued to fly high since and have not lost a game in January.
The Flyers are the only team in 3A to do that and that is why the Flyers are ranked No. 2 in the state.
The Cedar Redmen and Hurricane Tigers are tied for third in the Region.
The Redmen and Tigers have the best defense in the Region, No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. The Regions leading scorer Kyler Nielson, who is putting in over 18 points-per -game leads the Redmen. The Redmens’ only losses are to the top two teams in the state – Desert Hills and Dixie.
The Redmen beat the Tigers in Cedar on Jan. 11, by two points. The Tigers will get a chance at revenge, Feb. 3, with a chance to move into second place if Desert Hills or Dixie struggle and secure the third seed in the playoffs. The team that losses the game will be fighting to hold on to the four seed and stay in the state playoffs.
The Snow Canyon Warriors are in fifth place starting the second-half of Region play.
The Warriors started off by beating Pine View and Canyon View and jumping into a first place tie with Desert Hills and a top five ranking in the state. The Warriors have lost four games straight, and now find themselves on the outside of the state playoffs.
The Warriors open the second half of Region play with two must-win games against Pine View and Canyon View. If the Warriors can win the two games, they will have a chance to pull upsets of the top four teams to try and get in the playoffs.
The Pine View Panthers and Canyon View Falcons are at the bottom of the conference.
The Panthers are 1-5 with their only win coming over the winless Falcons. Both teams would have to win and would still need help to get into the state playoffs. The young Panthers will continue to get better and opposing teams can’t afford to overlook them. The Falcons will try to get their first win of the Region and also hope to build into next season.
Who will win the Region? Who will go to state? Will Desert Hills fall from the No. 1 spot? Will the Flyers continue their great play? All those questions will be answered over the next few of weeks as we push towards the state playoffs.
Games can be heard on Fox News Radio 1450 AM 96.7 FM every Wednesday and Friday. Go to www.kznusports.com for more information about what games will be covered and Blake’s Take On Local Sports.
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