HURRICANE — The Hurricane Tigers’ playoff hopes might be on life support, but they’re still alive thanks to a 61-54 victory over Snow Canyon Friday night in the Tiger’s Den.
Jayden Long didn’t shoot a single shot beyond three feet, but still scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Hurricane took over early in the third quarter. The Tigers led by five at halftime at 23-18, but pressed forward with a 13-5 start to the second half. Over a four-minute stretch, Hurricane allowed no field goals and just five Snow Canyon free throws as the Tigers stretched the lead to 36-23.
The Warriors fought back to within four at 57-53 in the game’s closing seconds on a 3-pointer by Brad Gresenti, but Tyson Yardley hit a pair of free throws and Long broke free for an uncontested layup to seal the deal.
“I felt pretty good and my teammates were there and had the assists,” Long said. “It was just a great game. Our mindset in the third and fourth quarter was to just take it to them.”
James Bennion, coming off a game against Pine View in which he was held scoreless, contributed 17 points and made four 3-pointers.
“We believe in ourselves,” Bennion said. “We have been making it a goal to finish every game, because this is our last shot. If we lose, we’re out.”
The Tigers battled foul troubles all night and three Hurricane players fouled out (Creston Beatridge, Reagan Hinton and Austen Beatty). But Long, making the start as one of the team’s seniors on Senior Night, picked up the slack.
“With Jayden, it was all about hustle,” Coach Langston said. “He told us in the locker room that he had a goal to get eight rebounds tonight. So every time a shot went up,a loose ball, he went after it and that was the difference in the game tonight.”
Snow Canyon was tough defensively in the first half and held a 13-9 advantage midway through the second quarter. But Long hit a layup and a couple of free throws to spark a 12-1 run for Hurricane. SC got a basket late in the half by Brock Staheli to close within 23-18 at recess.
Neither team could buy a basket to start the third quarter. The Warriors pulled to within 23-19 on a free throw by jacob Frei with 5:59 to go in the third and Long finally broke the ice for the Tigers with a lay-in a minute later. Hurricane kept going inside to Bettridge and Long, with some pretty dishes from point guard Kaden Langston, and steadily pulled away in the second half.
The Tigers were 21 of 48 from the floor (44 percent), and hit 5 of 16 3-pointers (31 percent). Bennion made four of those treys on only eight attempts. Hurricane is only 2-7 in region, but could possibly secure a playoff spot with three more wins to close out region play. It’s not likely, but for now it is still possible.
“We knew that it was do or die, if we lose we’re out,” Coach Langston said. “This gives us a slight chance, if we keep winning, to get into that fourth spot.”
Frei was the top scorer for Snow Canyon, which took a big hit to its playoff chances with the loss. He had 17 points and Kade Potter and Staheli had 10 each.
Langston had 10 points and 7 assists for the Tigers, who are 5-13 overall, but have won two of the last three games. Hurricane has three road games left, including a visit to Canyon View next Wednesday.
Snow Canyon, 7-10 and 3-6, is at Cedar next Wednesday night.
Stats: HHS 61, SCHS 54
Cedar 54, Canyon View 47
The Redmen climbed into fourth place in the region with a convincing win over the Falcons. Cedar won both contests against its crosstown rival this season, winning earlier this month by 13.
Keenan Nielson piled up 18 points and Ben Brown poured in 17 for the Redmen, who improve to 9-7 overall and 4-4 in region play. Cedar led by double-digits several times in the game before settling for the seven-point win. CHS hit 21 of 43 shots from the floor for 49 percent.
The Redmen are alone in fourth place and are in line for a playoff spot (and a likely trip to Payson in the first round). That all may be decided next Wednesday as Cedar hosts fifth-place Snow Canyon at Redmen Gymnasium for amid-week showdown.
Canyon View, which got 18 points from senior Keaton Kringlen, fell to 7-10 overall and 1-7 in region. The Falcons host Hurricane in their next game, Wednesday night.
Stats: Cedar 54, CV 47
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