ST. GEORGE — Ah, the halftime speech. It’s one of the few times when a coach will have his team’s undivided attention. For Desert Hills Wednesday night, it was all about that baseline.
The Thunder owned the baseline in the second half against Snow Canyon, converting easy baskets and dominating on the boards, to pull away for a 76-59 victory over the Warriors in Region 9 boys basketball action.
“We went in the locker room and got all fired up to get rebounds,” senior guard Max Mills said. “They wrote it on the board, challenged us, got in our faces and got a little fire in us.”
Desert Hills led by just one at 33-32 at intermission, but outscored Snow Canyon 27-13 in the third quarter.
“I wasn’t real thrilled with how we played in the first half,” said D-Hills coach Wade Turley. “I give Snow Canyon a lot of credit. I knew they were going to come in fired up and giving us their best shot. We just told the kids (at halftime) that we expect more, really. The third quarter the kids came out and shared the basketball and we made a nice run there.”
It also helped having Quincy Mathews on the floor. The senior forward sat a good portion of the second quarter with two fouls, but was impressive in the third, scoring 12 of his game-high 24 points in the period.
“He was motivated,” Turley said. “He saw that we were struggling offensively, especially. Like he’s done throughout this year, at times, he takes this team and says, ‘Hey guys, let’s get going.”
Early in the quarter, DH was nursing a 40-38 lead when Mathews kicked it into overdrive. He scored on a baseline drive to spark a 12-3 run that made it a double-digit lead at 52-41. Mathews had eight of the 12 points in the run.
Marcus McKone kept the Thunder going in the first half, scoring 16 of his 18 points before the break, including four first-half 3-pointers. The Thunder led by as many as six points in the first half and held a 33-27 lead with two minutes to go. But the Warriors closed the half with a putback by TJ Taimi and a 3-pointer from Kade Potter to close it to 33-32.
After Desert Hills’ big third quarter, Snow Canyon never made a serious charge, with the lead swelling to as many as 20 points (at 65-45). Max Mills had 10 points, including a pair of treys for DH, which made 7 of 15 from beyond the arc. The Thunder hit for 54 percent from the floor in the game, sinking 29 of 54. many of those open shots on the lane.
Snow Canyon hit 55 percent in the first half, but the numbers went way down after halftime and SC ended up 21 of 46 (46 percent). The Warriors were 4 for 16 from outside the arc in the game.
Desert Hills, which won the rebounding battle 32-23, improves to 11-3 overall and 4-0 in Region 9 with the win. The Thunder are in first place, a game ahead of Dixie.
Snow Canyon had four players in double-figures, including Justin Loveless and Brock Staheli with 13 each and Kade Potter and Jake Frei with 12 apiece. The Warriors fall to 6-7 overall and 2-3 in region with the loss.
D-Hills is at Canyon View Friday night while Snow Canyon hosts Dixie.
Dixie 59, Cedar 48
This was another game that went heavy one way in the second half as the Flyers broke open a 29-29 tie at intermission for the key road win.
Tyler Bennett had 20 points and RJ Wilgar poured in another 17 as Dixie held Cedar to just 19 points after halftime.
The Redmen had a 35-34 lead two minutes into the second half when Jake Hawes hit a bucket to give Dixie the lead that it would not relinquish. The layup sent the Flyers on an 8-2 run to close out the third and stake DHS to a 42-37 lead with eight minutes to play.
Dixie then opened the fourth quarter with a quick 7-2 spurt to push the lead to double-digits at 49-39. Nate Crockett started the run with a 3-pointer. Cedar would get no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Dixie won the rebounding battle 27-18 and made 10 of 14 from the line. Dixie also shot well from the field, hitting 22 of 40 for 55 percent.
Cedar led by five in the first quarter, but a 7-0 run to end the period gave the Flyers a 16-14 lead and it was nip-and-tuck the entire second period.
Jace Wilkerson led the Redmen with 14 points, while Ben Brown and Jeff Rogers had 12 each.
Dixie, 11-3 overall and 3-1 in region, will battle crosstown rival Snow Canyon Friday night in SC’s Jungle Gymnasium.
Cedar, 7-5 and 2-2, will travel to Hurricane Friday to take on the Tigers.
Stats: Dixie 59, Cedar 48
Pine View 51, Canyon View 48 (F/OT)
PV survived an overtime war with the Falcons, with Kody Wilstead scoring 5 of his team’s 6 points in the extra frame.
The Panthers battled foul trouble all night, with three starters fouling out in regulation. But Wilstead was around in the OT and made his presence felt immediately with a three-point play to start the extra time. He also had another basket in the lane as PV outscred CV 6-3 in the overtime.
Wilstead finished the night with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Garrett Bowker had a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 14 for Pine View.
Bowker had the game-tying shot that forced the OT, while Cody Ruesch chipped in a key free throw in the OT. Canyon View had 3-pointer attempts by both Sterling Barnes and Ty Nielson late that would have tied the game, but both shots were off the mark.
Pine View, now 12-2 overall and 3-2 in region, got 11 points and 7 rebounds from Ruesch, but the Panthers hit just 5 of 11 from the free throw line.
Canyon View, which falls to 7-6 overall and 1-3 in region, got 14 points from Barnes and 9 from Keaton Kringlen.
The Panthers are off Friday and resume region play next Wednesday at Cedar. The Falcons host league-leader Desert Hills Friday night.
Stats: PV 51, CV 48
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