ST. GEORGE – The Desert Hills seniors must really like to play defense.
“We wanted to set the tone early,” said Thunder guard Landen Broadhead. “We were able to cut off their passing angles and force some turnovers.”
The Thunder put together a complete game, forging ahead early and maintaining the lead all the way to the final buzzer in their impressive 58-32 victory over the Falcons. The win clinches a playoff spot for DH and could give them a shot at moving up out of fourth place with a couple of road wins next week.
On the offensive end, the Falcons defense got an early dose of Taylor Houston, the recipient of some great entry passes from Jordan Hokanson and Trey Tanner for three easy baskets. The Thunder closed the quarter with 3-pointers from Hokanson and Brycen Williams.
Canyon View kept pace in the second quarter as several Thunder players picked up their second foul and found their way to coach Wade Turley’s bench. But Tanner kept up the punishment inside for the Thunder, scoring seven in the quarter.
“My 15 footers were going down tonight,” said Tanner. “I don’t usually shoot from that far, but I just felt good tonight.”
The Falcons got two buckets each from Ryan Jensen, Koy Huxford and Ty Nielson in the quarter but were unable to gain ground going into halftime down 30-15.
In the third quarter, the taller Thunder continued to deny Canyon View any uncontested shots in the lane. At the other end, postman Austin Adams seemed to have his way in the lane, either getting the hoop, the foul or both. Adams scored all seven of his points in the quarter. Hokanson added seven more to his total, including his third 3-pointer of the night.
“My confidence has returned since earlier in the season,” said Hokanson. “My 3s have been falling and that has opened up the other areas of my game.”
The Falcons got two baskets apiece from Jensen and Travis Bettridge, but at the end of three the Thunder had added to their advantage and led 53-28.
The fourth quarter scoring consisted of free throws only. The Falcons saw a couple of players go to the bench with five fouls early. At the 5:12 mark, the Thunder lead was 57-30. Turley emptied his bench. Falcons coach Rob Potter followed suit shortly thereafter. Desert Hills went into a controlled stall motion offense. A few more free throws brought the game to its final score, 58-32.
“We have some very good senior leadership,” said Thunder assistant coach Will Hokanson. “They made sure that there was no letup after getting the big lead.”
Jordan Hokanson led all scorers with 13. Tanner joined him in double-figures with 12. For the Falcons, Jensen scored 11.
Desert Hills moves to 11-8 overall, 6-4 in region play. The Thunder will travel to Pine View on Wednesday night and close out region play at Snow Canyon next Friday.
Canyon View drops to 6-14, 3-7 in Region 9. The Falcons will host Dixie on Wednesday night and close the season at Hurricane next Friday.
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