ST. GEORGE — A packed house? Check. A great game? Check. A fantastic finish? Check.
It was what three thousand fans were hoping for when No. 1-ranked Pine View and No. 2-ranked Desert Hills squared off Wednesday night as the Panthers rallied to take a 74-70 win at PVHS’s Pit Gymnasium. Though PV took the game, the two teams are tied in the loss column in Region 9 and (barring an upset loss in the next nine days), it will probably take a coin toss to decide the 2015 Region champ.
Kody Wilstead had 33 points and led his team to the come-from-behind victory, making 13 of 14 free throws along the way.
“It didn’t feel like I scored that many,” Wilstead said. “I shot a lot of free throws, that’s what it felt like. I didn’t know I had 33 points.”
Desert Hills couldn’t handle the senior Pine View center, who also made 10 of 17 from the floor. His night included three monster dunks, including a one-handed tomahawk in traffic on the fast break. Most of his heroics came after halftime, where Wilstead had 25 of his 33 points.
“In the first half they were out-physicaling me and I got into foul trouble,” Wilstead said. “I just felt like I let my team down in the first half. During halftime I was sitting there saying to myself, ‘I can’t be the reason my team loses.’ I came out in the second half and did whatever I could so that wouldn’t happen.”
Pine View point guard Chaz Peterson said he was thrilled to see Wilstead have a break-out game.
“Kody played great tonight,” he said. “I’ve never really seen him play that well. We kept giving it to him inside and he kept scoring. He said, “Chaz, keep giving me the ball,’ and I said yes sir.”
Desert Hills played well out of the locker room in both the first quarter and the third quarter. The Thunder, led by senior Quincy Mathews, had 27 first-quarter points in opening up an 11-point lead. Pine View chipped away at the lead, pulling within six in the second quarter before settling for a 41-34 halftime score.
In the third, Mathews and teammate Marcus McKone came out on fire, helping Desert Hills push out to a 55-41 lead midway through the period. McKone had two 3-pointers and Mathews had six points in the 14-7 run.
But the Panthers started pounding it into the post and Wilstead had 13 of PV’s 15 points in the third. His two free throws late made it 56-49 heading into the final quarter.
Wilstead started the fourth quarter with a one-handed throwdown, then a steal and coast-to-coast drive that ended with a finger-roll for two more, making it 56-53 just a minute into the fourth.
Pine View actually took the lead at 58-57 with a bank shot in the lane by Jed Newby at the 6:05 mark, but the brief lapse seemed to wake up the Thunder, who then went an 11-2 run to take a 68-60 lead with three minutes left.
Pine View rallied by scoring nine straight, including a deep 3-pointer by Garrett Bowker. Wilstead’s free throws with 1:14 left gave Pine View the lead once again at 69-68.
Both teams nailed a pair of freebies to set up a 71-70 Pine View lead with 25 seconds left, but Wilstead gave the Panthers a little breathing room with a steal and another layup with 18.8 seconds to go to make it 73-70.
After a time out, Mathews worked for a 3-pointer, but the shot was just short and Garrett Bowker hit a free throw to ice the game for the Panthers with 3.5 seconds to go.
“They came out in the first quarter and punched us in the mouth,” Peterson said. “But we weathered the storm and didn’t let them get too far ahead. We knew that we could come back. We had confidence in our team.”
Pine View was an impressive 23 of 45 from the floor (51 percent) and an amazing 25 of 29 from the charity stripe (86 percent). The top-ranked Panthers are now 17-2 on the season, 8-2 in Region 9.
Mathews led DH with 25 points and McKone had 20. The Thunder also shot well, going 25 of 51 from the floor (49 percent) and 16-20 from the line (80 percent). But D-Hills fell to 14-5 overall, 7-2 in region.
Pine View, which has won six straight, hosts Canyon View Friday night, while Desert Hills, losers of two straight, is at Snow Canyon Friday.
Hurricane 62, Canyon View 52
After starting region 0-6, the Tigers have now won 3 of 4 games and are flirting with a playoff spot after the road win at the Falcon’s Nest Wednesday night.
Austen Beatty had 18 points and James Bennion hit five 3-pointers as Hurricane led nearly wire to wire. The Falcons rallied in the middle quarters, but Bennion and Beatty answered every call for the Tigers, who are now 3-7 in region play.
Hurricane would still have to win its last two games (at Cedar and at Desert Hills) and have Cedar lose its last three games, but the win has the Tigers at least still alive in the playoff hunt.
Bennion started Hurricane off with a 3-pointer to open the game and Kaden Langston had a pair of first-quarter baskets to stake the Tigers to a 15-10 lead after eight minutes.
Canyon View, led by Ty Nielson and Keaton Kringlen, closed to within 24-21 at halftime, but by the fourth quarter Hurricane had pushed the lead out to double-digits and cruised home with the victory.
Jayden Long and Reagan Hinton contributed eight points each for the Tigers, who are now 6-13 overall. Hurricane is off Friday before next Wednesday’s visit to Cedar City.
Canyon View, 7-11 and 1-8, got 12 each from Kringlen and Nielson. The Falcons are at Pine View Friday night.
Stats: HHS 62, CVHS 52
Cedar 45, Snow Canyon 40
Jace Wilkerson had a career-high 16 points to lead the Redmen to the home win over the Warriors.
Snow Canyon opened the game on a 7-2 and led by as many as eight points in the first half. Cedar closed the half on a 5-0 run to pull within 18-17 at intermission.
Cedar led by as many as five in the third, but SC closed to within 27-26 on a basket by Frei to start the fourth quarter. Rogers responded with a trey at the other end to push the lead back to four at 30-26. The Warriors pulled to within three a couple of times in the final six minutes of the game, but could get no closer.
Kyle Wood added 12 points and Jeff Rogers chipped in 10 as Cedar improved to 10-7 overall and 5-4 in Region 9. The Redmen are at Dixie Friday night, a team they lost to by 11 a month ago.
Snow Canyon was led by Jacob Frei, who had 22 points and hit a pair of treys. The Warriors are 7-11 overall and 3-7 in region. SC’s only hope for the postseason is to win out, have Hurricane win out and have Cedar lose out, thus creating a three-way tie for fourth place. Snow Canyon hosts Desert Hills Friday night.
Stats: Cedar 45, SC 40
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