ST. GEORGE – Seems like Delta, being the Rabbits and all, would like to run.
As it turns out, the Rabbits would just as soon not. Desert Hills got out on the fast break and buried Delta 69-56 Friday night, using a blistering transition game to earn easy baskets en route to the dominating performance.
“We had a pretty good heart-to-heart talk after Wednesday (a loss to Cedar),” said Thunder first-year head coach Wade Turley. “We lost our composure a little bit against Cedar. You have to know when to step on the gas.”
Desert Hills also did a lot of the little things that were lacking in their region loss to the Redmen. The Thunder rebounded well (a 32-17 advantage), forced turnovers (Delta had 24) and made their free throws (DH was 15 of 16 from the line).
“We were really out of rhythm against Cedar,” center Josh Anderson said. “Tonight we moved the ball well and played as a team. We didn’t try to play a lot of one-on-one like we did against Cedar.”
Anderson and Ty Rutledge played like a couple of senior captains (which they are) and capitalized on a lot of solo match-ups in the game.
“We’re just starting to really get back into basketball,” Rutledge said. “We tried to set the tone as captains and push the ball a little. Then we got it going and kind of fed off each other.”
Rutledge had 25 points to lead all scorers and most of his shots in the game were of the open variety.
“We have a lot of great individual athletes on this team,” said Jordan Hokanson, who tossed in 11 points. “We’re all trying to find exactly what roles we fit into. We’re starting to do a better job of that.”
A Taylor Bahr 3-pointer made it 16-14 early in the second quarter before the Thunder went on a 7-0 run, sparked by a Rutledge trey and a Taylor Houston basket. The run made it 23-14 with 3:50 to go in the first half.
Delta hung close behind the sharp play of Bahr (24 points) and Badral Nasalmaa (11 points) and trailed just 32-21 at the half.
But Desert Hills came out focused in the second half. Within four minutes, the lead had ballooned to 47-29. Rutledge had seven points in the 15-8 run.
The Thunder’s biggest lead was 67-45 after a bucket by “Sugar Bear” Anderson, with the junior varsity players playing the final three or four minutes.
“I like the nickname,” Anderson said of his ‘Sugar Bear’ alias. “Sweet, but tough on the inside. The seniors two years ago gave me that name. What’s not to like?”
Desert Hills. 4-2, plays again Saturday, taking on Spanish Fork at 6 p.m. in the Thunderdome. Delta, which beat Cedar in late November, fell to 2-4.
Timpview 61, Pine View 33
Kody Wilstead was the only Pine View player in double-figures with 12 points, but Timpview did a good job of containing Dallin Milne, who had been averaging 23 points a game the last three outings. Milne finished with just seven and the Panthers managed just 23 points the game’s first three quarters.
Wilstead also had 17 rebounds and seven blocked shots, but the Panthers could not overcome a slow start. Pine View shot just 26 percent in the game.
Pine View plays at Juab (4 p.m.) Saturday before opening region play next Wednesday at home against Hurricane.
Spanish Fork 56, Hurricane 41
Cody Lebaron had 17 points, five rebounds and three steals for Hurricane, which fell to 1-4. Hurricane is off until Wednesday’s region game at Pine View.
Orem 60, Dixie 44
Orem, which is 3-1, got 49 of its 60 points from the three talented players, led by Darger’s 18.
Dixie plays at Salem Hills at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Skyhawks, 2-2, are coached by Dixie coach Ryan Cuff’s old college teammate, Jimmy Degraffenreid.
South Sevier 48, Cedar 44
Race Parsons led South Sevier with 25 points, including five 3-pointers, while Ryan Armstrong had 11 points and Dustin Staggs had 10 points and 10 boards for Cedar.
The Redmen and Rams were tied at 44-44 with a minute left, but a Cedar turnover led to a Parsons bucket and S. Sevier survived a couple of Cedar attempts to tie or take the lead in the final minute.
The Redmen, 3-3, led 27-21 at the half. Cedar’s next game is a home match-up with Canyon View Wednesday night.
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