ST. GEORGE – Playing their fourth game in four days, Desert Hills decided to play loose and free Saturday morning. But that doesn’t mean the Thunder didn’t play defense. DH shut down the Corner Canyon Chargers 58-38 Saturday in the final day of the Red Rock Rumble at Dixie State’s Burns Arena.
Corner Canyon stayed with Desert Hills for one quarter, nearly matching basket for basket and only trailing 16-14. Then the Thunder defense stiffened and kept the Chargers in single digits for the remaining quarters. The forward tandem of Quincy Mathews and Taylor Houston continually got good looks inside and together scored 14 points in the first half.
Desert Hills scored eight of the first 10 points of the second quarter including two baskets from backup post Austin Adams. Houston ended the half for DH with two more baskets. Corner Canyon’s Michael Eberling kept the Chargers close scoring 12 in the first half, but Corner Canyon trailed at halftime, 31-23.
The third quarter scoring for Desert Hills came from Matthews and Adams, scoring 9 and 4 points, respectively. On the defensive end, the Thunder held Corner Canyon to only seven points. The Thunder lead was 44-30 at the end of three.
The fourth quarter started like the second. The Thunder scored the first five baskets and at the 4:40 mark, the lead had climbed to 54-30. Mathews and Brycen Williams accounted for two baskets apiece in the run.
Corner Canyon scored eight points late in the game, but the final tally found the Chargers down by 20, 58-38.
Mathews had a double-double with 18 points (on 70 percent shooting) and 14 rebounds. Houston scored 10 and the Thunder got nine apiece from Williams and Adams.
Eberling led the Chargers with 14 points.
For the game, the Thunder shot 56 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the foul line. They held the Chargers to 25-percent shooting.
The win evens Desert Hills with the loss column to go 5-5. DH plays again on Dec. 30 at Virgin Valley, Nev. The loss drops Corner Canyon to 2-6. The Chargers will face Manti in an afternoon game today for their last game in the Red Rock Rumble.
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