ST. GEORGE — It may have been a night of surprises in Region 9 (Hurricane shocking Dixie, Desert Hills winning by 34 on the road), but no one in Burns Arena Friday was amazed when Pine View and Snow Canyon knocked heads and battled hard in a defensive game that ended with a 44-40 Panthers victory.
“It’s a win and I’m happy with a win,” PV coach Darrell Larsen said. “I keep telling people that with Snow Canyon, they’re always going to be well-coached and you always know they’re going to play tough and be scrappy. What we tell our kids is that we have to match their intensity, which I think we did.”
The two teams met six and a half weeks ago with Pine View running to a 74-57 victory. It would not be that easy this time. In fact, Snow Canyon was within a point at 36-35 with five minutes left. But that Panther defense, which held Cedar to 36 points just two nights ago on the Redmen’s home court, was in fine form. Pine View held Snow Canyon to just five points the final five minutes and a total of just eight in the entire fourth quarter.
“Their defense was a lot better this time, so we needed our defense to step up,” said PV center Kody Wilstead. “We can score when we need to, but our defense is our strength.”
The proof was in the pudding as the Warriors managed just 14 of 40 from the floor against Pine View, 27 percent shooting for the game. PV also won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding Snow Canyon 30-22. In fact, if not for the Panthers 18 turnovers, they may have won the game going away.
As it was, it took a stout fourth quarter to get the win. With PV up 36-35, Wilstead tipped away a pass and went coast to coast for a layup to make it 38-35. Snow Canyon drew a foul, but missed both free throws (another theme of the night, but more on that later).
The normally sharp-shooting Garrett Bowker missed an open 3-pointer, but Jacob Frei missed a contested runner at the other end. Wilstead then made a nice move in the post and shot over a double-team. His hook caromed off, but Jed Newby was there for the tip-in to make it 40-35. After a 3-pointer miss by Snow Canyon, Wilstead, a 6-foot-7 senior, drew a foul and hit one free throw to make it 41-35.
Another miss by Snow Canyon on a hard contest by Wilstead led to an easy layup at the other end by the big guy to make it 43-35 with under two minutes left.
But the Warriors weren’t cooked yet. Justin Loveless scored inside to make it 43-37 and, after two missed free throws by Pine View, Brad Grisenti hit a trey out of the corner to make it a one possession game at 43-40 with under a minute to go. With time winding down, and after a bunch of timeouts, Pine View got the ball in to Bowker, who was fouled with 16 seconds left. He hit 1 of 2 to make it 44-40.
Snow Canyon drove the length of the floor, but TJ Taimi couldn’t get his shot to fall, though the ball went out of bounds off of Pine View with six seconds left. On the ensuing play, a 3-pointer by Kade Potter was off the mark and the Panthers secured the rebound and the game.
“We believe in our defense and we believe we can win in these low-scoring games,” Newby said. “Obviously we’d like to get out and run, but we found a way to get the points we needed to win. But this was my kind of game.”
As mentioned, free throws were a real issue in the game for both teams. Pine View won despite making just 5 of 14 from the line. SC was a little better, hitting 6 of 13. But the Panthers were much better from the field, making 18 for 34 shots, 53 percent. The Warriors saving grace in the game was the deep ball, where they hit 6 of 14.
Pine View ended up with 14 points and 7 rebounds from Wilstead. Newby added 10 points and 4 boards.
Snow Canyon got 10 points each from Loveless and Grisenti.
With the win, Pine View is 14-2 overall and 5-2 in region, tied for second with Dixie. The Panthers have two road games next week, at Hurricane Wednesday and at Dixie Friday.
Snow Canyon falls to 6-9 overall and 2-5 in region. The Warriors are home for Canyon View Wednesday and at Hurricane next Friday.
Stats: PV 44, SC 40
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