ST. GEORGE – Pity the fool who thought the final week of Region 9 boys basketball was going to be clean and simple.
Desert Hills spoiled Senior Night at The Jungle and shocked a packed house by upsetting first-place Snow Canyon 58-52 Friday night. Josh Anderson score seven fourth-quarter points and the Thunder finished the game on a 13-4 run to grab the underdog victory.
“We had to get together as a team and say ‘Hey, we can’t lose again,’” Anderson said. “We had a real letdown (last week) against Pine View. We were disappointed.”
It was a strange game of runs and streaks, with the Warriors running out to several big leads, but Desert Hills reeling them in each time.
Snow Canyon held a 48-45 lead with five minutes left, but that’s when Anderson and sophomore Quincy Matthews went to work. Matthews hit a jumper from the free throw line, then Anderson went inside and scored over SC center Nate Gottfredson to put the Thunder up 49-48 with 4:30 to play.
The next two minutes proved to be an exercise in frustration for Snow Canyon as Desert Hills cleared offensive rebound after offensive rebound. The Thunder finally got a shot to go when Anderson got behind the defense and hit a layup and was fouled. His free throw made it 52-48 with 2:35 to go.
Gottfredson got a hook in the lane to cut it to 52-50 with 1:33 left, but Anderson answered again by scoring inside with 50 seconds left to make it 54-50. A Chandler Gines runner cut it to 54-52 with 40 seconds left, but Desert Hills played keep-away until Chase Thompson was fouled with 16 seconds to play.
The DH senior calmly nailed both free throws for that important 4-point cushion and Brycen Williams added two more with two seconds left to provide the final margin.
“I knew how important those free throws were and what a difference they would make in the game,” Thompson said. “I just focused, tired to block everything out and knocked them down.”
Twice early in the game it looked like the home-standing Warriors would run away with things. Snow Canyon led 12-4, but the Thunder responded out of a time out by going on an 8-0 run, fueled by a Thompson bucket and back to back Ty Rutledge treys.
Things looked especially bleak for Desert Hills in the second quarter as Snow Canyon had pushed out to a 29-20 lead and both Anderson and Rutledge were on the bench with two fouls.
Instead, the Thunder came alive with four consecutive 3-pointers by four different players. Williams hit the first one at the 3:25 mark to make it 29-23. Taylor Houston then nailed one 40 seconds later to make it 29-26. Jackson Card followed with his trey to tie the game at 29-29 with 1:57 to go in the half. Thompson ended the astounding four-basket, 12-0 run with his own 3 with under a minute to go in the half and that 32-29 lead would hold at the break.
“It was a lot of fun to see because those guys work hard,” DH coach Wade Turley said. “What’s nice about that is it gives some kids off the bench some confidence.”
Certainly one of the big stories of the night was the huge crowd, with some fans having to park more than a half-mile from the basketball entrance at Snow Canyon. About 75 percent of the crowd was SC partisan, but Desert Hills was also well-represented and Anderson’s big baskets late came right in front of the the sizable DH student section.
Even with the loss, the Warriors remain in first place, a game ahead of both Cedar and Desert Hills. The Warriors, 12-6 overall and 9-2 in region, still have a chance to clinch the No. 1-seed and a region title outright with a win at Dixie on Tuesday night.
Chandler Gines had 17 points to lead SC, while Gottfredson added 12 and sophomore point guard Jake Frei had eight points and five assists.
For the Thunder, 15-5 and 8-3, they keep pace with Cedar in a tie for second and still have hopes for a region title. Desert Hills finishes the season Tuesday at home against sixth-place Canyon View.
Rutledge had 15 points and Taylor Houston added 11 as DH avenged a 57-54 home loss to Snow Canyon back in mid-January.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.