Welcome to halftime, boys and girls. Where’s the drill team and the pep band?
It is, in fact, half way through the Region 9 season and a good time to try and figure out what we learned through the first six games.
First of all, the stratification in Region 9 is amazing. Rarely will you see every team separated by one game each. Cedar is 6-0, Snow Canyon is 5-1, Desert Hills is 4-2, Dixie is 3-3, Pine View is 2-4, Canyon View is 1-5 and Hurricane is 0-6. Pretty unusual, but things won’t stay that way for long.
It seems pretty clear that it is a two dog race at the top as Cedar and Snow Canyon both captured road wins at third place Desert Hills. Cedar also got a win at Snow Canyon, though it took a 15-point come-from-behind effort to do it. That’s not to say Desert Hills can’t still sneak in at second place or even contend for the region title, but the Thunder would have to get hot and win some big road games to get there.
Certainly it seems that DH (along with Cedar and Snow Canyon) are playoff teams. That leaves a dogfight between Dixie and Pine View for the fourth and final playoff spot. Dixie took a big step forward with a win at Pine View last week. But the Panthers have four of their final six games at home and their two road games are at winless Hurricane and the return game against Dixie. The Flyers also have four home games left, but Dixie’s two road games are killer at Cedar and at Desert Hills.
The bottom line as we see it here at Monday Rundown is this: Cedar should get the top seed, Snow Canyon second and Desert Hills will probably get third. The fourth playoff spot will come down to the Pine View at Dixie game Feb. 6.
One other prediction: coach Rob Potter has Canyon View playing decent basketball. The Falcons can shoot the ball, that’s for sure. I just have a gut feeling that Canyon View is going to knock somebody off. The Falcons aren’t a playoff team, but they are dangerous.
Now a look at what has developed in the first half of the season:
Cedar – The Redmen made a statement way back on Dec. 12 with a 13-point win at Desert Hills. They also got Dixie at their place and had that big comeback at Snow Canyon. They have it all with size (Dustin Staggs and Ryan Armstrong), a good point (Mike Hourigan) and shooters (Dason Coronado and Kordan Nielson). However, they did get way behind against Desert Hills and Snow Canyon. Cedar does have some consistency problems and a weak bench, but the only way the Redmen lose the region title is by shooting themselves in the foot. Record – 12-3, 6-0. Streak – W9. Leading scorer – Dustin Staggs, 11.9 ppg. Key win – Jan. 11 at Snow Canyon, 51-49. Key upcoming game – Feb. 6 vs. Snow Canyon.
Snow Canyon – The Warriors also have shooters (Brendan Truman and Kallan Webster), size (Nate Gottfredson and Hayden Anderson), but are still looking for consistency at the point. Chandler Gines has been phenomenal and it’s hard to believe he tore his knee up less than six months ago. Record – 8-5, 5-1. Streak – W2. Leading scorer – Chandler Gines, 15.9 ppg. Key win – Jan. 16 at Desert Hills, 57-54. Crucial upcoming game – Feb. 6 at Cedar.
Desert Hills – Ty Rutledge and Josh Anderson have been carrying this team. But Rutledge has struggled with injuries and Anderson is under-sized in the post, so the duo really need some help. Jordan Hokanson has been suspended from the team pending some personal problems, so the Thunder will look to Taylor Houston (who has also struggled with injuries) and sophomore Quincy Matthews. Still, this is an experienced team that should make some noise in the playoffs. Record – 11-4, 4-2. Streak – W1. Leading scorer – Ty Rutledge, 15.8 ppg. Key win – Dec. 19 at Dixie, 57-49. Crucial upcoming game – Jan. 23 at Cedar.
Dixie – Once again, we’ll jump on the Blake Barney bandwagon. The more comfortable Barney has gotten this season with coach Ryan Cuff’s scheme, the better the Flyers have become. Barney averaged 7.9 ppg before Christmas and Dixie went 3-8. Since then the Flyers are 3-2 and the senior guard is scoring 17.0 ppg. That’s no coincidence. Dixie also has a legit second threat in Kyler Smith, but the Flyers just don’t have great outside shooters. Record – 6-10, 3-3. Streak – L1. Leading scorer – Blake Barney. 11.8 ppg. Key win – Jan. 11 at Pine View, 70-55. Crucial upcoming game – Jan. 25 at Desert Hills.
Pine View – The schedule is favorable for the Panthers down the stretch with home games vs. Snow Canyon, Desert Hills. Canyon View and Cedar. But home court guarantees nothing. Dallin Milne has been the most reliable, but PV needs Jack Bangerter and Chaz Peterson to shoot more consistently and Kody Wilstead has the tools to take over a game, but it hasn’t really happened yet. Record – 9-7, 2-4. Streak – W1. Leading scorer – Dallin Milne, 16.3 ppg. Key win – Jan. 16 at Canyon View, 55-49. Crucial upcoming game – Feb. 6 at Dixie.
Canyon View – Chad Corry and Brady Barrett are dangerous scorers, but CV has no inside game and layups still beat 3-pointers when the dust settles. Still, there’s a couple of region wins out there for the Falcons if they can hold it together. Record – 7-10. 1-5. Streak – L2. Leading scorer – Chad Corry, 13.8 ppg. Key win – Jan. 11 at Hurricane, 54-44. Crucial upcoming game – Jan. 25 vs. Cedar.
Hurricane – Definitely a rebuilding year in the Hurricane Valley. Seven seniors led the Tigers to the state title last season, but also left the cupboards pretty bare for this season. Garet Cahoon and Cody Lebaron are doing their best to keep coach Brian Vaiafanua’s team in games, but Region 9 doesn’t have any pushovers, so wins have been rare this year. Record – 1-13, 0-6. Streak – L11. Leading scorer – Garet Cahoon, 8.7 ppg. Key win – Dec. 8 vs. Parowan, 53-30. Crucial upcoming game – Feb. 6 at Canyon View.
Andy Griffin is a sports commentator. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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