Tigers upset Thunder to win State Basketball Championship

3A State Championship, Hurricane Tigers v Desert Hills Thunder, at Burns Arena, St. George, UT Feb. 25, 2012 | Photo by Troy Hoskins, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Hurricane Tigers held the No. 1 ranked Desert Hills Thunder without a field goal in the final 3:00 of the state championship game to win 52-49 on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25, at the Burns Arena.

The Tigers rallied from a four-point half time deficit to take a four-point lead going into the final quarter. The Tigers held the Thunder to 25 percent shooting in the third and fourth quarter. The Tigers shot 40 percent from the field in the first and second half.

The Tigers Weston Yardley controlled the Thunder press outstanding with only one turnover in the ball game. Yardley added 10 points including two big 3-point baskets late in the game.

The Thunder controlled the boards in the first half and even led the Tigers in point in the paint, a Tiger staple all season long.  The Thunder out-rebounded the Tigers by five in the first half and outscored the Tigers by four in the paint.

Boston Gubler spent most of the first half on the bench in foul trouble for the Tigers and did not score until midway thru the third quarter.

Tyler Ott also had a slow first half only scoring two points for the Thunder.

Ott started to get things going in the third, scoring seven points in the quarter to keep the Thunder in the game.

The Tigers went ahead on the biggest basket of Gubler’s career with 2:27 left in the game, giving the Tigers a one-point lead.

The Thunder were only able to connect on two field goals in the final quarter of play.

The Tigers, Benson Rich went to the free-throw line with 27 seconds left ending a two-minute scoreless drought. Rich made both free throws and put the Tigers up 50-47.

On the next possession the Tigers fouled Thunder guard Brandon Smimister and sent him to the line shooting two. Simister made both and the Thunder only trailed by one.

Gubler would answer on the other end, making both free throws – pushing the Tiger lead to 3 with 10 seconds remaining.

The Thunder called timeout and set up a play for Ott to shoot the three. Ott missed the off-balance three and the Tigers were Champions.

The Thunder were led by Ott and Simister, who scored 12 points and 10 points respectively. No other Thunder players were in double figures.

The Tigers were led by Colton Marshall who played the entire game and scored a team high 14 points. Yardley was the only other Tiger in double figures and also played all 32 minutes, as did Benson Rich.

“The main key was not to turn the ball over and to handle their pressure”  – the Tigers did, only turning the ball over nine times in the game.

The Tigers win the second State Championship of the year having also won the football state championship over the Thunder.




For more Dixie State Red Storm talk, tune into Blake’s Take weekdays from 5-6 p.m. on KZNU Sports Radio – 96.7 FM 1450 AM – or online streaming live on the brand new KZNU Sports website: www.kznusports.com


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