ST. GEORGE – Basketball is really a simple game. The team that can keep its best players on the court and score more baskets wins the game. The Snow Canyon Warriors proved as much Wednesday with a 70-58 victory over Pine View at the Pit.
The Warriors overcame a first-quarter deficit and enjoyed a solid team effort to help hold their ground at first place in the region.
“It’s always tough to come in here and get a win,” Warriors coach James Brown said. “We got a full team contribution tonight. Some kids played a lot of minutes and they looked like they handled it [well].”
Snow Canyon big man Nate Gottfredson scored the first eight points of the game for the Warriors and finished with a team-high 23. The 6-foot-7 junior set the tone early on and carried his team through the first quarter. Gottfredson, who has been plagued by foul trouble this year, stayed patient and didn’t commit a foul until late in the game.
“I realized that my team needs me on the floor,” Gottfredson said. “We’re more successful when we have a presence [down low]. I tried to not be so selfish and give up a few layups rather than commit fouls. That helped me stay in the game.”
Gottfredson’s post presence forced Pine View to focus its defense on him and ultimately opened things up outside the arc. The Snow Canyon shooters had a heyday from outside and made nine treys, sparked by a Brendan Truman first quarter buzzer-beater to even the score at 11-11. Truman added two more before he was done and finished with 10 points.
Spencer Call also added two 3-pointers in the first half, but the Panthers failed to adjust and put more pressure on the Warrior shooters. Kallan Webster made them pay in the second half. Webster nailed three triples and scored 11 points during a crucial stretch in the second half to help push the lead to double-digits.
“I knew they were going to play on the other guys in the second half,” Webster said. “I had to step and make my shots. They were going on a run.”
Chandler Gines struggled through an off night, but still managed to score 12 points, most of them in the fourth quarter. But despite struggling to score, Gines played a pivotal role in getting his teammates involved.
“Chandler is fine with distributing the basketball,” Brown said. “The first thing he asked me was how many assists he had. That’s the nice thing about Chandler. He’s willing to adjust and willing to do what the team needs to get it done.”
Of course there are always two sides to every story. While the Warriors enjoyed hot shooting and consistent effort, Pine View struggled to stay in a rhythm and frustration began to mount, eventually boiling over in the second half when Dallin Milne was awarded an intentional foul for tripping Gottfredson on a fast break. Panthers coach Darrell Larsen followed up the intentional foul with a technical foul of his own in the fourth quarter.
The incidents essentially summed up the entire night for Pine View on a night where two players combined for more than half its points. Milne recorded a game-high 25 points and Kody Wilstead added 14, but no other played contributed more than six points. The Panthers fall to 3-5 in the region and get set to host Desert Hills on Friday.
Snow Canyon improves to 7-1 in region play and welcomes Hurricane to the Jungle on Friday before traveling to Cedar next Wednesday for a chance to avenge its only region loss.
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