TWIR9: It was a season to remember for hoops fans in southern Utah

COMMENTARY — It was sad to see basketball put to bed for the year. especially with the amazing amount of talent we had in Region 9. It will be a season to always remember, with each team providing special moments this season.

For the state champ Pine View Panthers, it was the unguardable duo of Kody Wilstead and Chaz Peterson. For Dixie, it was the trio of guards, Tyler Bennett, RJ Wilgar and Jake Hawes that refused to lose. For Desert Hills, the pure basketball played by Quincy Mathews was a joy to watch. I remember a night in Hurricane when Cedar’s Ben Brown could not miss. I wasn’t there, but was amazed at the incredible game James Bennion put together when Hurricane upset Dixie at the Hangar. And watching Snow Canyon big guy Justin Loveless grow into a big-time player in the low post was fun.

Tyler Bennett (5) with a shot over Blake Ence (11), Pine View vs. Dixie, 3A State Basketball Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Tyler Bennett (5) with a shot over Blake Ence (11), Pine View vs. Dixie, 3A State Basketball Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Some of my favorite moments from the year — if you were there, you probably feel the same:

In the preseason, Hawes was an instant hero when, with just seconds remaining against Springville, he stole the ball and went coast to coast for the game-winning basket. See the story here.

Just a few days later, Quincy Mathews broke Flyers fans hearts on the same floor, hitting a 16-foot jump shot as time expired to lift Desert Hills over Dixie. See the story here.

A couple of days after that, still in December, Austin Adams had one of those nights where he couldn’t miss. He scored 34 points against Woods Cross in a D-Hills win, making 15 of 16 shots. Even when he left it short, the ball had enough English on it to roll in anyway. He was hot and you can read about it here.

That same day, and in that same write-up, we can read about Loveless have the best game of his young career as he dominated Mountain View for 21 points in the Warriors’ win.

When region restarted in Fanuary, Dixie and Pine View staged the first of what would be three epic battles between the two schools this season. Hawes had the game-winner again and Dixie held on defense for the narrow win. Read more here.

As January started to ripen, the Hurricane Tigers started to become a factor. And though they did not make the playoffs, they certainly had an affect on the teams that did, including that stunning upset at Dixie .

Perhaps extra-motivated from that home loss, Hawes and the Flyers went to Desert Hills and pulled off the road win. A couple of days later, Pine View made a case for first place with a buzzer-beater win over Dixie.

Five days after that, the Panthers turned to their big guy, Wilstead, who had a career-high 33 in the Panthers second revenge game in a week, a four-point win over the Thunder.

As the season wound down, Canyon View made a cameo appearance as spoiler, surprising Desert Hills. That loss, along with PV’s win against Cedar a couple of nights later, clinched the region for the Panthers.

In the first round of the playoffs, Pine View and Desert Hills cruised at home, but it was Dixie that grabbed the headlines as Bennett had 27 points in a road win at Payson.

The top three Region 9 teams then headed to the Maverick Center in West Valley City and the crazy finishes continued. Dixie blew a lead late against Bear River, but the Flyers full-court play with 2.9 seconds left was perfectly executed as Bennett buried the game-winner.

The next night, the Flyers and Thunder put on an epic game for the ages. The four overtime affair was a game that Dixie and DH fans may never forget.

Kody Wilstead holds the ball to run out the clock for the Panthers, Pine View vs. Dixie, 3A State Basketball Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Kody Wilstead holds the ball to run out the clock for the Panthers, Pine View vs. Dixie, 3A State Basketball Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Fittingly, the state championship game was another nailbiter. Pine View led most of the game, but Bennett was red-hot at the end of the third quarter and start pof the fourth to give Dixie the lead. Like the two previous meeting between the two teams, it would be close all the way to the end after that. The Panthers eventually won it, with MVP Wilstead cradling the basketball after an offensive rebound as time expired.

I don’t remember a season with the three top teams so evenly-matched. There were so many close games and incredible moments. Thanks Kody, Quincy, Jake and the rest of the guys for making a season I’ll never forget.

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL

Unbelievably beautiful weather has me stoked.

Baseball (and softball) parents are resilient and well-prepared. They know that it could be 35 degrees and windy or 80 degrees and sunny during the baseball season. Fortunately, we’ve seen mostly sunshine in this early season as teams try to cram in as many preseason games as they can before region gets rolling.

There are tournaments at Desert Hills, Dixie, Snow Canyon, Pine View and Hurricane this weekend for baseball. Plus softball also has a big tourney at Dixie High and Dixie State. Anyone looking to catch a ball-game over the weekend shouldn’t have to look far.

Here’s this week’s schedule:

BASEBALL

Tonight
Canyon View at Richfield, 3 p.m.

Thursday
Arbor View, Nev. at Pine View, 7 p.m.

Friday
Canyon View at Bishop Gorman, Nev., 3 p.m. (at BG)
Canyon View vs. Basic, Nev., 7 p.m.
CHUCKWAGON CLASSIC
Beaver at Hurricane, 10 a.m.
DESERT HILLS INVITATIONAL
West Jordan vs. Desert Hills, 11 a.m.
Desert Hills vs. Carbon, 1 p.m.
Logan vs. Cedar, 3 p.m.
Cedar vs. Northridge, 5 p.m.
DIXIE SUNSHINE CLASSIC
Mountain View at Dixie, 1 p.m.
East at Dixie, 7 p.m.
SNOW CANYON CLASSIC
Judge Memorial vs. Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
West vs. Snow Canyon, 9:30 p.m.
TIGER-PANTHER CLASSIC
American Fork at Pine View, 9:30 a.m.
Enterprise at Hurricane, noon

Saturday
Canyon View vs. Desert Oasis, Nev., 9 a.m. (at BG)
Canyon View vs. El Dorado, Nev., 1 p.m. (at BG)
DESERT HILLS INVITATIONAL
Cedar vs. TBD, tbd
Desert Hills vs. TBD, tbd
DIXIE SUNSHINE CLASSIC
Dixie vs. Wasatch, 1 p.m. (at Dixie High School)
Dixie vs. TBD, 4 p.m. (at Dixie High School)
PANTHER CLASSIC
Pleasant Grove at Pine View, noon
TBD at Pine View, 3 p.m.
SNOW CANYON CLASSIC
TBD vs. Snow Canyon, 9 a.m.
TBD vs. Snow Canyon, 3 p.m.

 

SOFTBALL

Tonight
Lincoln County, Nev. at Dixie, 4 p.m.

Thursday
Grantsville at Cedar, 3 p.m.
American Fork at Hurricane, 3:30 p.m.
Payson at Canyon View, 3:30 p.m.
Uintah at Pine View, 3:30 p.m.
Murray at Dixie, 4 p.m.
Roy at Snow Canyon, 4 p.m.
Union at Cedar, 5 p.m

Friday
SUNROC INVITATIONAL
Tooele vs. Canyon View, 8 a.m. (at Dixie State)
Canyon View vs. Corner Canyon, noon (at Dixie High School)
Union vs. Dixie, noon (at Dixie High School)
Bear River vs. Canyon View, 4 p.m. (at Dixie High School)
Manti vs. Dixie, 4 p.m. (at Dixie High School)

Saturday
SUNROC INVITATIONAL
Oak Christian, Calif. vs. Dixie, 10:30 a.m. (at Dixie High School)
Riverton vs. Canyon View, 12:30 p.m. (at Dixie High School)
Tooele vs. Dixie, 4:30 p.m. (at Dixie High School)
Canyon View vs. Manti, 6:30 p.m. (at Dixie High School)

SOCCER

The state playoffs start earlier in soccer than the other sports, so the futbol players are already into region play. Defending state-champ Dixie is at Desert Hills tonight in a key early season match-up. Snow Canyon (vs. Cedar) and Pine View (vs. Canyon View) are also home tonight.

This week’s soccer schedule:

Tonight:
Canyon View at Pine View, 7 p.m.
Cedar at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Dixie at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.

Thursday
Canyon View at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Skyline at Pine View, 8 p.m.

Friday
Hunter at Desert Hills, 9 a.m.
Hunter at Snow Canyon, 3:30 p.m.
Lone Peak at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Fremont at Hurricane, 9:30 a.m.

Saturday
Hunter at Dixie, 9 a.m.
Skyline at Desert Hills, 11 a.m.
Snow Canyon at Box Elder, 11 a.m.
Mountain Crest at Pine View, 3 p.m.
Lone Peak vs. Hurricane, 1 p.m.
Cedar vs. Fremont, 9 a.m. (at Hurricane High School)

“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.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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