ST. GEORGE — Cedar’s Keenan Nielson worked his wizardry once again, this time taking down Dixie. Meanwhile, Snow Canyon said “Enough!” with the close losses, blowing past Desert Hills. And Hurricane had Pine View on the ropes, but the Panthers escaped the Tiger’s Den with a win. In other words, it was another wild night in Region 9. Here’s a rundown:
Snow Canyon 71, Desert Hills 52
Normally, the No. 1 team (Dixie) going down would be the big story of the night. And certainly, that is big news. Perhaps the Warriors upset of the Thunder isn’t as big of news. But the WAY Snow Canyon did it is.
“We feel a little better about things now,” Warriors coach James Brown said. “Our kids took really good care of the basketball and we defended the 3-ball really well. And it helped that Desert Hills just didn’t shoot it very well.”
The man speaks truth. The Thunder were just 16 of 48 from the floor in the game, 33.3 percent. DH was even worse from downtown, making just 2 of 16 3-pointers (12 percent). With the shots not falling, D-Hills needed to dominate the glass. That didn’t happen either, with Snow Canyon winning the rebounding battle 41-29.
“It was a good effort by everybody,” Brown said. “We let a couple of games get away recently that I felt we could have or should have won. But tonight, everyone stayed focused mentally and played well together. We really shared the ball tonight.”
Five different SC players scored in double figures, led by TJ Taimi’s 13 points. Caeden Barney, Justin Loveless and Hunter Hammer tossed in 11 each and Kobe Tupu added 10. The Warriors were 24-56 from the floor (42.6 percent) and 22-31 from the line (71.0 percent).
It was still a game in the latter stages of the third quarter with SC leading 37-31. The Thunder tried to apply some full-court pressure, but the ploy backfired as the Warriors turned the pressure into a 10-2 run in the last 2:23 of the third. The run, sparked by a couple of baskets from Barney, turned a relatively close game into a 47-33 SC lead heading into the final stanza.
The Warriors expanded it to the largest advantage of the night at 68-47 with just under two minutes left and cruised on home from there.
“They tried to put a little pressure on us and we got layups out of it,” Brown said. “The kids did a good job of not dribbling into traps, of getting the ball in the middle of the floor and then turning it into baskets. We only had seven turnovers in the whole game and five of those came in the first half.”
Conversely, Desert Hills had 14 turnovers and gave up 45 points in the second half. Marcus McKone and Logan Hokanson had 10 points each for DH, but combined to go 6 for 20 from the floor and 1 for 8 from deep.
Brock Staheli had 7 points and 7 rebounds for SC, which improved to 6-9 overall and 2-3 in region, tied for fourth place. SC hosts Cedar Friday night.
Desert Hills, 13-3 overall and 3-2 in region, is at Hurricane Friday night.
Cedar 51, Dixie 49
To put it mildly, Keenan Nielson’s had a pretty good week. The Cedar junior guard hit a jumper at the buzzer to beat Hurricane last Friday, then followed that up by making a contested layup with 6.8 seconds left to help the Redmen defeat first-place Dixie Wednesday night in a jubilant Cedar gymnasium.
Unlike Friday, when Nielson couldn’t seem to miss in a 31-point effort vs. Hurricane, the 5-foot-8 guard struggled with his shot against Dixie. He entered the fourth quarter having made just two field goals and with 8 points. But his 3-point play midway through the fourth quarter came smack dab in the middle of an 11-1 Cedar run that turned a 40-36 deficit into a 47-41 lead with just over three minutes to play.
The Flyers responded with a 3-point play by Tyler Bennett to make it 47-44 with 1:52 left. Mason Fakahua scored inside to make it 49-44, with those two points being matched by Dixie center Richard Guymon’s two free throws with 43 seconds left.
After a turnover by Cedar, Dixie drew up a play to get Crockett open and the senior guard nailed the trey to tie the game.
Nielson then worked his way open for the game-winner 30 seconds later and Dixie was not able to get off a decent shot as time expired.
The game looked like an easy win early on for Dixie. After a basket by Bennett to open the second quarter, the Flyers led 18-4. Cedar scored 6 quick points to make it 18-10. A trey by Crockett just before the half kept Dixie’s lead at 8 at 30-22 and the Flyers stayed on top until the fourth quarter.
Nielson ended up with 13 points and 5 assists. Fakahua had 12 points and 5 boards. Parker Haynie played big in the fourth quarter and ended up with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Guymon led Dixie with 17 points, with Bennett scoring 14, well below his 22 points a game average. Dixie was 12 of 16 from the line (75 percent) and 16-43 from the floor (37 percent).
Cedar, which shot 21-43 from the floor, only shot seven free throws in the game, but made them all. The Redmen, 7-8 overall and 2-3 in region, are at Snow Canyon Friday night.
Dixie, 14-4 overall and 4-1 in region, play at Pine View Friday night.
Stats: Cedar 51, Dixie 49
Pine View 57, Hurricane 48
Momentum’s a funny thing. Ol’ Mo seemed to be squarely on the Tigers’ backs heading into the fourth quarter after Hurricane scored 7 straight points to close out the third, including a buzzer-beating trey by sophomore Jackson Last.
But it was Pine View that owned the fourth quarter, outscoring the Tigers 17-7 in the final stanza and 10-2 over the game’s final moments to secure the win.
“I’m proud of our kids ’cause they could have folded after that run by Hurricane, but they just kept truckin’ back, kept truckin’ back, kept truckin’ back,” Pine View coach Darrell Larsen said. “Hurricane is very talented and I felt like we got out-hustled most of the game. But we came out with a win. An ugly win, but a win.”
The game was close throughout, belying the final tally. PV got a 35-28 lead midway through the third quarter after a 3-point play by Steve Bangerter, and it was 40-34 with under two minutes to go in the third. But Josh Parker and Riley Ballard led a Tiger 7-0 run that was capped by Last’s 3-ball.
As they had all game long, PV turned to its two post players, Cody Ruesch and Trey Farrer, to regain the lead.
“Cody and Trey played great and they should have played great,” Larsen said. “We’ve got those wide bodies in there and we run an offense to get them the ball and get the defense to chase them.”
Ruesch, who sat most of PV’s last game with foul trouble, was able to stay on the floor most of the night for the Panthers and the playing time paid off in a big way. The Pine View forward had 20 points and 14 rebounds. Farrer was also big inside, recording 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Steve Bangerter, playing with the flu, still managed 8 points and hit a big 3-pointer in Pine View’s fourth-quarter run.
“He’s a tough kid, playing with a fever and having lost a bunch of weight,” Larsen said. “He went out there and fought hard for his teammates.”
Pine View, 10-6 overall and 3-2 in region, made half of its shots, 22 of 44, but only 10 of 18 free throws (56 percent). The Panthers start the second half of region play with a home game Friday against Dixie. Four out of PV’s final five games are at home.
Hurricane, which got 17 from Ballard and 15 from Parker, fell to 8-10 overall and 1-4 in region. The Tigers host Desert Hills Friday, but have three of their final four games on the road.
Stats: Pine View 57, Hurricane 48
Region 9 Standings
(halfway through region play)
Dixie 4-1 (14-4)
Desert Hills 3-2 (13-3)
Pine View 3-2 (10-6)
Snow Canyon 2-3 (6-9)
Cedar 2-3 (7-8)
Hurricane 1-4 (8-10)
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