COMMENTARY — Thirty-three wrestling teams will hit the mats Friday night and all day Saturday in the annual Pine View Invitational this week at PVHS.
There are about 110 schools that participate in wrestling in the state of Utah, so the basic math tells us that more than 25 percent of the schools in Utah will be in St. George to compete in the monstrous event ( a few teams from Nevada will also be participating).
The size of the event is impressive and the competition will be fierce. It begins at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon and will last all evening, then at 9 a.m. Saturday morning the brackets will begin to be pared down to the best of the different weight classifications.
By about 3 or 3:30 p.m., the finals will be set and the finest wrestlers will go manos a manos in the finals.
Admittedly, wrestling can be an acquired taste, like UFC or boxing. But the individual excellence required in the sport of wrestling is undeniable. There is no taking a break in wrestling. It’s one on one for three periods and the slightest slip-up could cost a point or two, and eventually the match.
We are only a couple of weeks from the 3A South Division Tournament. The South Division consists of schools in Regions 9 and 12. Division champs will be crowned and state seeding will be determined in this event, which takes place Feb. 6-7, so this weekend’s big tournament is a perfect warm-up for the division tourney.
The 3A wrestling state tournament is Feb. 13-14 at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
There is definitely some stratification in the standings as we near halfway in the region schedule. Desert Hills is at 5-0, Dixie at 4-1, Pine View and Cedar at 3-2, Snow Canyon at 2-4, Canyon View at 1-4 and Hurricane at 0-5.
The Thunder’s two big wins came at Dixie (on a buzzer-beater by Quincy Mathews) and at home vs. Pine View in a game that was tied with 90 seconds left (the Thunder went on a 10-2 run to win it 52-44). While those margins were ever so slim, that means nothing when it comes to the region title and the state seedings. The bottom line is Desert Hills is in prime position to take the region crown, something it hasn’t done in three years.
D-Hills is at Hurricane Wednesday night and should emerge at 6-0 halfway through region play. But no one is mailing off that region trophy just yet. The Thunder still have tough road trips at Cedar (this Friday), Pine View and Snow Canyon, plus Dixie will after some revenge after that heartbreaker in the Hangar.
Speaking of the Flyers, Dixie has won seven straight games, with the Flyers last losses coming to Viewmont by two points and that Mathews dagger. Dixie showed it can finish close games with a defensive stop in its road win at Pine View two weeks ago. The Flyers host Canyon View Wednesday and Hurricane Friday.
Pine View and Cedar hope to crack the top two and get a home playoff game, but one of the two squads will have a third region loss Wednesday night as they square off in Cedar City. Pine View, picked by many to win the region, is 1-2 in its last three games and the one win was an overtime squeaker at Canyon View. Pine View will give up its home court Friday and play Snow Canyon at Burns Arena due to the wrestling tournament. Cedar closes out a crucial week with a home game vs. Desert Hills Friday.
Snow Canyon, Canyon View and Hurricane would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today. The Warriors do have two region wins, but will have to pull some upsets to get into the postseason. SC is off Wednesday and will prepare for Friday’s game with Pine View at Burns Arena.
Canyon View has been close at home, but there are no playoff points for moral victories. CV is at Dixie tonight and off Friday.
Hurricane needs to get hot — and now — to make the playoffs. One game at a time will be the mantra for the Tigers, who were tied with Cedar in the closing moments before falling at home. HHS hosts D-Hills Wednesday and is at Dixie Friday.
This week’s boys basketball schedule:
1/21 – Wednesday
Canyon View at Dixie, 7 p.m. (ESPN SportsRadio 106.1 FM)
Desert Hills at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Cedar, 7 p.m.
1/23 – Friday
Desert Hills at Cedar, 7 p.m.
Hurricane at Dixie, 7 p.m. (Triplecast)
Snow Canyon at Pine View, 7 p.m. (890-Am KDXU)
Cedar leads the pack with a 5-0 record, but right on the Lady Reds’ heels is surprising Pine View, which is 4-1. And we won’t have to wait long to see which team has a leg up on the region title as the two squads battle tonight at Pine View. The Lady Panthers lost to Dixie, but could force a region tie with a win tonight (and possibly a region championship game on the last day of the regular season when they meet again).
There is a major logjam in the middle. With two other playoff spots available, four teams have three losses right now. Snow Canyon (3-3), Desert Hills (2-3), Dixie (2-3) and Canyon View (2-3) look like the four teams that will battle for those two postseason berths. Dixie and Canyon View will meet tonight to break their tie, while D-Hills is home for Hurricane. Snow Canyon is off tonight.
This week’s girls basketball schedule:
1/20 – Tuesday
Cedar at Pine View, 7 p.m.
Dixie at Canyon View, 7 p.m.
Hurricane at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.
1/22 – Thursday
Cedar at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.
Dixie at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Pine View, 7 p.m.
“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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