HURRICANE — Hurricane had a perfect recipe for an upset against Cedar Friday night. The Tigers shot the ball well, made all their free throws and held Redmen star Kyle Wood to about half his scoring average.
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But Hurricane couldn’t account for Ben Brown. The Cedar High senior had a career-high 24 points and nailed three 3-pointers, plus hit two game-clinching free throws with under a minute to play, as the Redmen defeated the Tigers 54-48.
“I don’t think I’ve ever shot that well,” Brown said. “Shots were just falling. Teammates were getting me the ball in good position. I was eating Goldfish before the game, but I don’t know. I haven’t shot like that all year.”
Brown was 7 of 9 from the floor in the game and 7 of 8 from the line. He made all three of his 3-pointer attempts and his second one, midway through the second quarter, gave the Redmen a huge 13-point lead at 28-15. Hurricane spent pretty much the rest of the game trying to rally. And it almost worked.
A 3-pointer by James Bennion just before halftime helped Hurricane pull within 30-23 at intermission and was part of an 8-2 run.
Cedar came out of the locker room fired up and immediately pushed the lead back to 12 at 37-25 less than three minutes into the third quarter. Again, the Tigers rallied and had it down to 43-38 by the end of the quarter.
Then things started to get really tight. Austin Beatty hit a bucket and Bennion scored four points as Hurricane got to within 45-44. Brown responded with a hook shot in the lane to make it 47-44. After another Cedar basket, Beatty and Bennion scored back to back again and cut it to 49-48 with 1:10 to play. The Cedar defense then ruled the rest of the game.
Keenen Nielson was fouled in the lane and hit two free throws to make it 51-48 with 43 seconds left. Cedar’s D forced a turnover and Brown iced the game with two free throws with 32 seconds left. A couple of forced 3s by Hurricane in the closing seconds were off the mark, thanks to pressure defense by Cedar.
“Ben Brown was great,” Cedar coach Craig Cardon said. “We made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch and we had a couple of huge defensive stops. We got a little lucky, but we’ll take it all day long.”
It is the third straight road win for Cedar, which committed just six turnovers and eight fouls in the game.
“Our team uses the road as motivation,” Cedar guard Jeff Rogers said. “It’s more of a challenge on the road.”
Rogers and Nielson had eight points each and Wood, who averages 13 a game, was held to seven. Cedar, 8-5 overall and 3-2 in region, finishes the first half of Region 9 play next Wednesday with a home game vs. Pine View, which is also 3-2. The Redmen play their next four games (and 5 of their last 7) at home.
Hard-luck Hurricane got 14 from Reagan Hinton and 13 each from Beatty and Bennion. The Tigers made 56 percent of their shots (17 of 28) and hit all six free throw attempts. But Hurricane had twice as many turnovers as Cedar (12-6).
The Tigers, 3-11 overall and 0-5 in region, have lost five straight. They host league-leader Desert Hills Wednesday night.
Stats: CHS 54, HHS 48
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