COMMENTARY — Even though basketball and the other winter sports are just getting started, there is plenty of news around Region 9 in several sports.
We’ll get to the news in a moment, but first let me congratulate one least time the Dixie Flyers for their 3AA state championship in football. Dixie was picked third by the media and fourth by the coaches in the preseason polls. The Flyers then opened the season 2-4, including a 20-point loss to Hurricane and a 34-point loss to 5A Riverton.
But credit the Dixie coaching staff, led by wily veteran Blaine Monkres. The Flyers kept their chins up and kept battling, rebounding from the big loss to the Tigers to hand Desert Hills its first loss of the season. That was the beginning of something beautiful for Dixie, which used that jumping off point to reel off eight-straight wins to close out the season, including the 27-19 win over Hurricane in the title game.
As much as we love to talk about stats, in the end the only one that matters is the final score. Dixie was out-gained in both the semifinals and the championship. In fact, Desert Hills had the best defense in the state and Pine View had the best offense — on paper.
But it is Dixie that brought home the gold trophy. Congrats Flyers!
Now, on to some important news around the region.
Pine View got some bad news a week ago when it was ruled that a player (who played significant minutes for the Panthers last year) was allowed to transfer to Dixie and play immediately for the Flyers. There is lots of finger-pointing and bad feelings surrounding this case, but with only hearsay on both sides, I will refrain from offering any opinion here. The UHSAA did hold a hearing on the matter and as far as that goes, the case is closed.
However, Pine View got some good news yesterday when it was confirmed that Kody Wilstead will play basketball this season. The original plan for the 6-foot-6 Wilstead, who has committed to play football for BYU, was graduate early from PVHS and to leave on an LDS Mission in January. The thought was to have him back in time to play spring football for the Cougars in 2017.
But plans change and Wilstead now plans to leave on his mission to Argentina in April, meaning the Panthers just got a big boost for their hoops squad. Region 9 fans know there’s not a lot of size around the region and Wilstead is a legitimate threat in the post. Last season, he averaged 14.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and more than four blocked shots per game. Pine View also returns dynamic guard Chaz Peterson and swing man Jed Newby, among others.
And speaking of boys basketball, the Region 9 Media Day, brought to you by Cherry Creek Radio, is next Monday (Dec. 8) beginning at 2:30 p.m. The event will be broadcast on SportsRadio 106.1 FM and on CEC-TV with each team granted about 20 minutes of air time to talk about the 2014-2015 season. The order of appearance is: Cedar, Pine View, Canyon View, Hurricane, Desert Hills, Dixie and Snow Canyon. The final segment of the show will feature a wrap-up by the ESPN radio team and poll results from both the coaches and the media.
Desert Hills is the defending 3A champion and the Lady Thunder will be pretty good this year, even with a new coach and the graduation of seven seniors, including all-staters Haley Bodnar and Blair Bliss. But the first couple of weeks, DH may be a little more vulnerable as the Thunder will be without star sophomore Ashley Beckstrand.
Beckstrand, who averaged eight points a game and often ran the point for the state champs, doubled over in pain and was rushed to the emergency room after the Thunder’s opening win over Enterprise. The trip to the ER led directly to a trip to the OR — the operating room — where Beckstrand had surgery to remove a large cyst.
As scary as it was, things have turned out well for Beckstrand and she is recovering. The early prognosis is that she’ll be out a couple of weeks and should be fine when the Thunder and new coach Gary Tomlinson begin their run for a repeat. Along with non-league games, D-Hills does have two region games in December, playing at Cedar Dec. 9 and hosting Dixie Dec. 16.
Beckstrand scored 24 points and had 7 assists for DH in the 79-40 win over Enterprise that fateful night.
Tomlinson is not the only new coach in the region as Chris Brinagh begins his first head coaching stint at Pine View. Brinagh, a former star wide receiver at Dixie State and Idaho State, has been an assistant at Dixie and Pine View in both football and basketball.
He’s got his work cut out for him, inheriting a tough schedule and a team that went 0-20 a year ago. But things are already looking up. The Lady Panthers opened the season with a 51-48 comeback win at Richfield.
You can’t keep a good man down, and less than five months after resigning as coach of the Desert Hills baseball team, Coach Jerry Beck is back.
Scott Brosier took over for Beck in July, but stepped down yesterday and the DH almost immediately tabbed Beck as the new/old coach.
“I am sad for Coach Brosier and appreciate everything that he did in keeping things going,” Beck said, through social media. “At the same time I am extremely excited to be back. The break did me some good and helped give me a better perspective on a lot of things. Hopefully my coaching will reflect that for the better.”
The Thunder have been in the state championship the past two seasons, losing heartbreaking games to Grantsville in 2014 and Snow Canyon in 2013.
This week’s Region 9 schedule:
12/2 – Tuesday
Centennial, Nev. at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.
Enterprise at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Centennial, Ariz. at Desert Hills, 5:30 p.m.
Beaver at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Enterprise at Cedar, 7 p.m.
Richfield at Canyon View, 7 p.m.
12/3 – Wednesday
Pine View at Enterprise, 7 p.m.
Richfield at Cedar, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Bryce Valley, 7 p.m.
12/4 – Thursday
Dixie at Richfield, 7 p.m.
Canyon View at Beaver, 7 p.m.
Delta at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Desert Hills Tourney
Desert Hills vs. Westlake, 8 p.m. (at Desert Hills High School)
Granger vs. Snow Canyon, 8 p.m. – (at Snow Canyon High School)
Salem Hills vs. Pleasant Grove, 8 p.m. (at Desert Hills High School)
Dixie vs. TBD, tbd (at Page, Ariz.)
12/5 – Friday
Canyon View at Juab, 7 p.m.
2A-3A PREVIEW (all games at Sevier Valley Center, Richfield)
Manti vs. Parowan, 10 a.m.
Cedar vs. Payson, 11:30 a.m.
Desert Hills vs. Grantsville, 1 p.m.
Morgan vs. Hurricane, 2:30 p.m.
Pine View vs. Emery, 4 p.m.
South Sevier vs. Dixie, 5:30 p.m.
North Sevier vs. Enterprise, 7 p.m.
Merit Academy vs. Richfield, 8:30 p.m.
Cedar at Springville, 7 p.m.
CARBON TOURNAMENT (at Carbon High Schoool)
Emery vs. Manti, 6:15 p.m.
Pine View vs. Carbon, 7:45 p.m.
DESERT HILLS TOURNAMENT
Snow Canyon vs. Westlake, 4:30 p.m. (at Desert Hills High School)
Salem Hills vs. Granger, 6 p.m. (at Desert Hills High School)
Desert Hills vs. Pleasant Grove, 7:30 p.m. (at Desert Hills High School)
Dixie vs. TBD, tbd (at Page, Ariz.)
12/6 – Saturday
Canyon View at Spanish Fork, 6 p.m.
2A-3A PREVIEW (at Sevier Valley Center)
Morgan vs. Cedar, 9 a.m.
Manti vs. Enterprise, 10:30 a.m.
Payson vs. Pine View, noon
Hurricane vs. Emery, 1:30 p.m.
Dixie vs. Grantsville, 3 p.m.
Desert Hills vs. Richfield, 4:30 p.m.
South Sevier vs. Merit Academy, 6 p.m.
North Sevier vs. Parowan, 7:30 p.m.
Cedar at Timpview, 3:15 p.m.
Pine View vs. Emery, 1 p.m.
Manti vs. Carbon, 2:30 p.m.
DESERT HILLS TOURNAMENT (at DHHS)
Salem Hills vs. Westlake, 9:30 a.m.
Snow Canyon vs. Pleasant Grove, 12:30 p.m.
Desert Hills vs. Granger, 2 p.m.
Dixie vs. TBD, tbd (at Page, Ariz.)
“This Week in Region 9″ is a weekly column written by Andy Griffin exploring the happenings in Region 9 at all sports venues. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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