Boys hoops roundup: Thunder, Flyers win big in Ken Robinson Classic

ST. GEORGE — Dixie and Desert Hills are making a tradition out of playing well at the Ken Robinson Classic, while Pine View’s own tradition of marching through the NGS Classic continues on.

Meanwhile, Cedar and Snow Canyon hit the road, with mixed results. Here’s a roundup of Friday night’s action for Region 9’s boys basketball squads:

Ken Robinson Classic
Desert Hills 59, Spring Valley (Nev.) 37

Defense, as usual, was the name of the game for the Thunder, who improved to 4-0 with the blowout win over the visitors from the Las Vegas area.

desert-hills-logoMarcus McKone had 16 points and the center tandem of Cody Fitzgerald and Jayce Jones combined for 18 points and six blocked shots as Desert Hills pulled away in the second half.

“Our main focus is defense, rebound and run,” DH junior guard Logan Hokanson said. “Coach (Wade) Turley really stresses that, making sure we get ball pressure, getting the rebound and getting out and running.”

After a 14-12 first quarter, the Grizzlies would find baskets hard to come by the rest of the night. The Thunder outscored them 18-7 in the second to take a 32-19 lead into the locker room. The second half was more of the same, with McKone and company allowing just 18 points in the final 16 minutes.

“Defense is something as a team that we take a lot of pride in,” McKone said. “It’s something we talk about a lot in practice. Our defense wasn’t great in the first quarter, but in the last three quarters we really picked it up.”

Marcus McKone (12) , file photo from Desert Hills vs. Spring Valley, Nev., St. George, Utah, Jan. 2, 2015| Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Marcus McKone (12) , file photo from Desert Hills vs. Spring Valley, Nev., St. George, Utah, Jan. 2, 2015| Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

McKone hit 7 of his 11 shot attempts in the game, including a pair of 3-pointers, plus 10 rebounds. But he had plenty of support, with 11 different Desert Hills players scoring in the game. The big guys, Jones and Fitzgerald, hit 7 of 9 shots and generally made life miserable inside for Spring valley, whose biggest player was 6-foot-3 Curtis Owens.

“We love those guys,” Hokanson said. “They work hard and play hard and are getting better and better.”

Desert Hills returns to action Saturday with the second day of the Robinson Classic in a morning game against 4A Spanish Fork, 10:30 a.m. at Dixie High.

Ken Robinson Classic
Dixie 60, Spanish Fork 49

It was a shooter’s delight in the first half of this one, with both teams raining down 3-pointers. By the time the shooting cooled down, the Dixie balance spelled the difference in the double-digit win.

Dixie's Nate Crockett (30), Dixie vs. Spanish Fork, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 11, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Dixie’s Nate Crockett (30), Dixie vs. Spanish Fork, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 11, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

Nate Crockett started the long-range party with three 3-pointers in the first quarter. Not to be outdone, Spanish Fork’s Tanner Argyle nailed three of his own in the first. By halftime, with Dixie ahead 34-26, the teams had combined for 10 3-pointers.

But with Dixie’s defensive pressure picking up, the Dons cooled off and Dixie pulled away.

Flyers coach Ryan Cuff has said his team needs more balance to have a championship-type season and Friday night, Dixie got just that. Leading scorer Tyler Bennett had just 13 points, but really didn’t need more with Crockett (15 points), Connor Dyches (11) and Richard Guymon (9) stepping up.

The Flyers outscored the Dons in every quarter and the lead never got below 10 for Dixie in the second half.

Bridger Noles led the Dons with 14 points, while Argyle managed just two free throws the rest of the game after his first quarter outburst and finished with 11 points.

Dixie, which improved to 3-1, has scored at least 60 points in the last three games. The Flyers will try and keep that streak going Saturday afternoon with a 3 p.m. matchup with Green Valley, Nev.

NGS Invitational
Pine View 63, Arbor View (Nev.) 57

Cody Ruesch continues to dominate the post and Brandon Yates hit all three 3-pointers he attempted as the Panthers advanced to the championship of the Page, Ariz., tourney.

pine-view-logoRuesch had 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals as the big man had a field day against the Aggies. Ruesch is averging nearly 17 points a game this season.

Brandon Yates
Brandon Yates

Yates, who went into the game with just two 3-pointers on the year and a 6.3 ppg average, was perfect in the game in racking up 15 points. he also had five rebounds and three assists.

Dylan Hendrickson contributed 12 points as the Panthers overcame a 25-19 halftime deficit by outscoring Arbor View 17-11 in the third quarter and then 27-21 in the fourth.

Pine View was an impressive 7 for 12 from beyond the arc. The Aggies were also pretty good from deep, making 10 of 21. PV overcame a 21-15 loss in the turnover battle by committing just nine fouls in the game (AV had 19) and dominating the glass with a 34-22 advantage.

The Panthers, 6-1, play Mingus (Ariz.) at 3:30 (Pacific) Saturday for the championship of the NGS Invitational. Pine View won the tourney in 2013 and 2014.

Stats: pvav121115

Richfield 48, Snow Canyon 37

Offense was the issue Friday night for the visiting Warriors, who had just five players score in the loss at RHS.

snow-canyon-logoJustin Loveless and TJ Taimi had 11 points each, but the Warriors were outscored in all four quarters and never could get the offense untracked against the Wildcats.

Richfield, 6-1, was led by Jaxon Hunt’s 12 points and Stetson Southwick’s 10. The Wildcats have played three region 9 teams, beating Dixie by six and losing to Desert Hills by eight. They play Dixie again next week in the Coach Walker Classic.

Snow Canyon, 1-4, also plays in the Walker Classic. The Warriors battle Westlake Thursday night (6:30 p.m.) on the first night of that tourney.

Cedar 44, Juab 42

The Redmen rallied for the close win behind Keenan Nielson, who had 14 points and nailed a couple of 3-pointers.

cedar-logoCedar won it at the line, outscoring the Wasps by five at the charity stripe. Braden Garrett had a nice game, scoring nine points while dishing out four assists.

The Redmen, 3-1, have won three straight games after losing their opener to Salem Hills. Cedar plays Tuesday night at North Sanpete and then Friday with a home date against rival Canyon View.

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

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


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