COMMENTARY — There are two weeks left in the Region 9 regular season. It’s that time of year when we start taking a hard look at what each team needs to do and where they might end up when the final buzzer sounds, signifying the end of region and the start of the playoffs. We’ll also include some team highlights.
I’m trying very hard not to over-hype the Desert Hills-Pine View game this Wednesday. But the truth is that the Thunder pretty much clinch the region title with a win, while the Panthers would pull ahead (by a half-game) in the standings if they can win. All eyes in southern Utah will be on that game (even third-place Dixie will be watching as the Flyers have a bye that night). Arrive early and good luck finding a parking spot!
Here’s a look at each team, with records and scoring averages and a glance at their playoff odds:
1. Desert Hills (14-4 overall, 7-1 in region, 59.8 ppg, 50.7 papg) — The Thunder, even with the loss to Dixie last Wednesday, are still poised to win the region … if they can get through Pine View. DH has had a leg-up on the competition in the region since back-to-back region wins (three calender weeks apart) over Dixie and Pine View. But the Flyers got them back and Wednesday’s game at the Pit is huge. The rest of the schedule sorts out pretty well after Wednesday’s PV game, so this is the region title for the Thunder. Playoff odds: 100 percent (clinched). Playoff spot: Likely first or second. Remaining games (4): 2/4 at Pine View; 2/6 at Snow Canyon; 2/11 vs. Canyon View; 2/13 vs. Hurricane.
2. Pine View (16-2, 7-2 in region, 56.5 ppg, 47.5 papg) — The defensive-minded Panthers allow the fewest points per game in 3A, with last Friday’s 67-66 win over Dixie being the only time all season they’ve allowed an opponent to top the 60-point plateau. PV’s final three games are at home and two of those are against lesser opponents that they’ve already beaten on the road. But a loss vs. DH could really hurt as Dixie would have second-place tiebreakers with Pine View if the two tie for second. Playoff odds: 100 percent (clinched). Playoff spot: First, second or third are all possible, with fourth unlikely. Remaining games (3): 2/4 vs. Desert Hills; 2/6 @ Canyon View; 2/13 vs. Cedar.
3. Dixie (14-5, 6-3, 65.3 ppg, 57.4 papg) — The third-place Flyers may have to root for bitter rival Desert Hills Wednesday. The region title is likely gone for Dixie, but second place and a home playoff game are still on the table. Dixie is off Wednesday, but will be favored in its final three games. The Flyers have done amazingly well with not much inside game, thanks to the trio of guards in Jake Hawes, Tyler Bennett and RJ Wilgar. They all average double-figures. Playoff odds: 95 percent (one win and they’re in). Playoff spot: Likely second or third. Remaining games (3): 2/6 vs. Cedar; 2/11 vs. Snow Canyon; 2/13 at Canyon View.
4. Cedar (9-7, 4-4, 51.1 ppg, 52.5 papg) — Snow Canyon’s loss at Hurricane helped the Redmen tremendously, putting the Redmen in prime position to claim the fourth playoff spot, a game and a half ahead of the Warriors. Cedar beat SC earlier this season. The two teams will square off Wednesday in Cedar City with a win for the Redmen pretty much guaranteeing a playoff spot. But keep in mind, Cedar still has trips to Dixie and Pine View up ahead. Playoff odds: 75 percent (6-6 should get them there). Playoff spot: Likely fourth. Remaining games (4): 2/4 vs. Snow Canyon; 2/6 at Dixie; 2/11 vs. Hurricane; 2/13 at Pine View.
5. Snow Canyon (3-6, 7-10, 56.6 ppg, 62.4 papg) — The Warriors have put themselves in a bad spot, probably with the need to win all three remaining games to get into the playoffs (two out of three will make it very iffy). Plus, SC is not exactly hot, having gone 2-8 in the last 10 games. But, like eating an elephant, the Warriors just need to take one bite at a time, starting with a huge road game at Cedar Wednesday night. Playoff odds: 10 percent (zero percent if they lose Wednesday). Playoff spot: Hoping for fourth. Remaining games (3): 2/4 at Cedar; 2/6 vs. Desert Hills; 2/11 at Dixie.
6. Hurricane (2-7, 5-13, 47.8 ppg; 53.3 papg) — It’s getting harder and harder to breathe in Hurricane as the Tigers are alive, but just barely. The only hope for Hurricane is to win its last three games and Cedar and SC have a combination of losses to make a 5-7 record a possible playoff number. Hey, hope springs eternal for a team that has played much better basketball the past two weeks. Playoff odds: 5 percent (zero percent with any loss). Playoff spot: Hoping for fourth. Remaining games (3): 2/4 at Canyon View; 2/11 at Cedar; 2/13 at Desert Hills.
7. Canyon View (1-7, 7-10, 56.5 ppg, 56.5 papg) — Believe it or not, the one-win Falcons are not mathematically eliminated yet. Of course, they’d have to win out from here and get very fortunate with the three teams ahead of them losing to get a spot, but again, hope springs eternal. An amazing stat: Canyon View has both scored and allowed 960 points this season. Playoff odds: 1 percent (zero percent with any loss). Playoff spot: Hoping for fourth. Remaining games (4): 2/4 vs. Hurricane; 2/6 at Pine View; 2/11 at Desert Hills; 2/13 vs. Dixie.
One last note on boys basketball: Region 9 is 8-5 against first-round region foes from Region 12. But that’s a little misleading as Region 12 teams (Payson, Richfield, etc.) are 5-4 against Region 9’s bottom four teams (Cedar, SC, hurricane and CV), but 0-4 against the region’s top teams (DH, PV and Dixie).
This week’s games:
2/04 – Wednesday
Desert Hills at Pine View, 7 p.m.
Hurricane at Canyon View, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Cedar, 7 p.m.
2/06 – Friday
Canyon View at Pine View, 7 p.m.
Cedar at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Desert Hills at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Cedar (8-0), Snow Canyon (6-3) and Pine View (6-3) have all pretty much clinched a playoff spot (not mathematically, but still very likely), while Desert Hills took a step forward and climbed into the fourth spot and has the inside track to the final playoff spot.
The Lady Reds have won a lot of close games in region, with veteran leadership providing the skills and experience to finish those games. Cedar is not a great scoring team (46.1 ppg) with only Courtney Morley averaging in double-figures. But the Lady Reds are tops in the region in defense, allowing just 36.6 points a game. Defense wins championships and Cedar is on the verge of a region title.
The battle for second place and a home playoff game is an interesting one. SC has been hot, winning five straight. But the Lady Warriors have three tough games left, vs. Cedar, at Desert Hills and vs. Dixie.
Meanwhile, Pine View closes out with three road games, at Desert Hills at Canyon View and at Cedar. Winning two of those games for either team should get second place and a home playoff game.
Desert Hills, with four games left, may have a chance to sneak into the second or third spot if they can finish strong. The schedule is more favorable for the Lady Thunder, who have two home games this week (PV and SC) and then finish with winnable games at Canyon View and at Hurricane next week.
The Lady Falcons and Lady Flyers are still thinking playoffs, with each a win behind D-Hills in region. CV, which has four games left, is at Hurricane Tuesday and home for Pine View Thursday. Dixie, with three games remaining, is off Tuesday and at league-leading Cedar Thursday night.
Hurricane, at 0-9, is eliminated from playoff eligibility.
This week’s girls games:
2/03 – Tuesday
Canyon View at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Cedar at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.
2/05 – Thursday
Dixie at Cedar, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Canyon View, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Desert Hills, 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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