ST. GEORGE – It’s been an unreal battle at the top of Region 9 girls basketball this season and, fittingly, it’s all ended in a tie.
Desert Hills mauled Pine View 65-24 and Cedar edged Snow Canyon 56-52 Wednesday night to create a dead-even tie between the Thunder and Lady Reds. The schools’ athletic directors will meet halfway tomorrow morning to flip a coin and determine who gets the first and who gets the second seed going into Saturday’s 3A State Playoffs.
“Either way, we’re excited to have a home playoff game,” Thunder coach Chris Allred said. “Even though we have to share the region championship, we are very proud of that. This is a tough region and that’s a heck of an accomplishment. The top four teams in this region are all very good.”
Indeed, Snow Canyon finishes just a game back of the Thunder and Lady Reds and Dixie clinched a playoff spot long ago and will be one of the toughest four seeds in the state.
Allred said he was able to make a point to his players going into the Pine View game with a little help from the Desert Hills boys team.
“A lot of the girls were at that game last night when the boys lost to Canyon View,” he said. “I think they learned a little bit of a lesson. You can’t overlook anybody.”
Neither team was especially hot at the start of the Desert Hills-Pine View girls contest. Still, it was apparent the Lady Thunder were the superior squad and a big third quarter erased any doubt.
“It was not quite as clean as I would have liked it early in the game” Allred said. “But we played well in the third quarter, holding them to just four points while scoring 20 ourselves. We did a good job on defense and moving the ball on offense.”
A relatively close 27-14 halftime contest turned into blowout time with that big third. As usual, Haley Bodnar (17 points) and Blair Bliss (10) led the way for the 19-2 Thunder. But Allred was quick to point out the season-long contributions of players like Emily Seifert, Karlee Myers and Whitni Atkin.
“These girls have worked hard and have all made their contributions,” he said. “We have (almost) everybody back from last year and it’s nice to have that nucleus and not have to start over. Experience is huge. They know how to handle pressure in big games.”
Kristina Judd led Pine View with seven points, but it was a tough season for the Lady Panthers, who finish 2-19 overall and 0-12 in region.
Meanwhile, Cedar managed to hold off Snow Canyon by four Wednesday night. Courtney Morley had 17 points and Taylor Davis added 13 as Cedar built a double-digit third quarter lead before holding on for the win. The Lady Reds, 17-4 overall and 10-2 in region, made 15 of 19 free throws to fend off the Snow Canyon comeback attempt.
Amy Harris had 22 points and Megan Leavitt added a dozen, but the Lady Warriors will have to settle for the No. 3-seed and a first-round trip to 15-6 Judge Memorial.
Dixie, the Region 9 fourth seed will play at 19-2 Juan Diego.
The winner of Thursday’s Cedar-Desert Hills coin toss will play host to 13-9 Uintah and the loser will entertain 15-6 Wasatch.
After Saturday’s first round games, the tournament shifts to Ogden and Weber State University’s Dee Events Center. Feb. 21-23.
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