ST. GEORGE – Pine View knew it wasn’t facing the same Hurricane team from a year ago, but the Panthers weren’t about to do the Tigers any favors.
Pine View opened the game on an 11-0 scoring run and allowed just two points in the first quarter en route to a 66-38 win in the cozy confines of The Pit. In a classic case of defense leading to offense, Pine View capitalized on a turnover-prone Hurricane effort and essentially had the win in its back pocket after one quarter.
Trailing 14-2 at the first break and with one of its best players on the bench due to injury, Hurricane seemed lifeless, simply going through the motions. And the Panthers fed off their opponent’s misfortunes.
“We wanted to come out early and play as hard as we can and get an early lead,” Pine View guard Jack Bangerter said. “We really did that. We came out with a lot of energy and played good as a team.”
Bangerter finished with a game-high 17 points and made a living from behind the arc. But he didn’t just make his presence known on the offensive end of the court. Bangerter also shut down Cody Lebaron, Hurricane’s leading scorer. Lebaron was fresh off 17 and 18-point scoring performances and was averaging 12 points per game, but managed only four points against Bangerter’s feisty defense.
“His defense was phenomenal,” Panthers coach Darrell Larsen said. “He shut down their best player. His defense starts his offense and it gets him going.”
Fellow guard Dallin Milne also had a big night with 14 points and was the instigator of the early scoring run. Milne said the Panthers came out with intensity to ensure they didn’t let up at all, even against a team having a sub-par season.
“We wanted to make sure that we didn’t take them lightly,” Milne said. “We wanted to make sure that we respected them. We made sure we came out intense and treated them like any other team we’ve played.”
Sophomore Kody Wilstead recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds and junior Collin Dowdell turned in his best performance of the year with 11 points in just 12 minutes.
Sophomore Kayden Langston was the lone Tiger in double-figures with 12 points, but the theme for Hurricane was one of what might-have-been had it not given Pine View a big head start.
Tiger coach Brian Vaiafanua said his team was nervous and the game just didn’t go according to plan.
“I wanted to do some different things (and) mix things up,” Vaiafanua said. “We were 1-4 coming into this. I felt like we could change some things up a little bit, hoping that a couple kids would step up. It just didn’t happen. They kind of got us on our heels. Give them all the credit.”
The Panthers improve to 6-2 overall and 1-0 in Region 9 while the Tigers fall t0 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the region. Both teams will take part in the Red Rock Rumble at Dixie State College over the next three days. The event features teams from both northern and southern Utah. Hurricane takes on Lehi tomorrow at 10 a.m. and Pine View squares off with Salem Hills at 5 p.m. Both games will take place at the Burns Arena. Check back tomorrow for complete game recaps and stats from the Red Rock Rumble.
American Fork 78, Snow Canyon 53
Chandler Gines was the lone bright spot as he scored 23 points in the blowout loss. SC plays Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at Dixie State against Payson.
Cedar 74, Canyon View 59
Dason Coronado had 18 points and Dustin Staggs added 16 as the Redmen routed Canyon View. Chad Corry had 17 to lead CV. Both teams are off until after Christmas.
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