ST. GEORGE – Being called a streaky shooter is not necessarily a good thing in basketball.
In this case, Dason Coronado will take it. The 5-foot-10 senior made five 3-pointers in the third quarter and helped Cedar turn a 27-20 deficit into a 48-33 lead as the Redmen shocked Desert Hills with a 61-48 road win Wednesday night.
“When he’s hot, he’s really hot,” Cedar coach Craig Cardon said. “He could throw it off his head and it would go in. The kid can really shoot.”
Coronado made two free throws just before halftime, then hit two 3-pointers in the opening moments of the second half to erase a seven-point deficit. Toss in a bucket each by big men Dustin Staggs and Ryan Armstrong and the quick run, which covered only three minutes of game time, changed the score from 27-20 DH to 32-27 Cedar.
“The coach just made a couple of little adjustment,” said Staggs, who tossed in 18 points himself. “This is definitely a difficult place to play a game. We were nervous at first. But we took care of our defensive assignments and hit the open man on offense.”
The first half looked good for the home-standing Thunder with Taylor Houston and Jordan Hokanson providing the offense. The two combined for 18 of Desert Hills 27 first-half points.
Houston’s mid-range jumper with 2:05 left in the half put DH ahead 25-16. Coronado and Staggs hit back to back baskets to cut it to 25-20 before Houston got loose for a layup with 1:05 to go until intermission.
That turned out to be the bright spot of the evening for the Thunder. Midway through the third quarter, it was still a game after Hokanson hit a driving layup to make it 33-29. But Coronado unleashed another barrage of treys to turn the game into a blowout.
With Staggs and Armstrong anchoring the middle, especially on defense, Coronado made three more 3-pointers in less than three minutes in the third, turning the four-point game into a 46-33 runaway.
“I guess all the hard work is paying off,” said Coronado, who finished with 21 points. “It was a mix of just hitting open shots and kinda of being in a zone. It was a good night. I have to thank my teammates for getting the ball to me when I was open.”
Hokanson (12 points), Houston (10) and Ty Rutledge (10) all finished in double-figures for the Thunder, who fell to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in region play.
It was not a good shooting night for Desert Hills, which made just 19-52 shots (36 percent) and just 3-17 from beyond the arc (17 percent).
“Sometimes basketball as is simple as making baskets,” DH coach Wade Turley said. “We didn’t hit our shots tonight and they did. It’s early and we still have a lot to learn and a long way to go.”
Cedar, 3-2 and 1-0, also got nine points and nine rebounds from Armstrong.
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