ST. GEORGE – All three Region 9 games were here in St. George Wednesday night, and all three home teams won. For Dixie and Desert Hills, the top two teams in the region, winning at home has become a habit and was expected. But Snow Canyon’s home victory over Canyon View continues the remarkable second half of the region season for the Warriors.
“We’re 3-1 since the halfway point and I feel like we’re slowly, but surely starting to get it,” Snow Canyon coach Jamison Sorenson said. “Our goal is to get into the postseason and that’s still there for us.”
The Flyers clinched a playoff spot and a home playoff game in the first round with their win over Hurricane. And Desert Hills is hot on the Flyers’ tail with three games left after the Thunder delivered a whupping to Pine View. Desert Hills has also clinched a playoff spot. Here’s a look at Wednesday night’s action:
Dixie 49, Hurricane 38
It’s becoming a regular thing for the Flyers. In each of their wins in the last couple of weeks, Dixie has shut down an opponent for a stretch of time, with the defensive smothering eventually leading to a Flyer victory. Against the Tigers, it was the third quarter.
“The real key to the game for us was the third quarter – we were locked in on defense,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “We only gave up two points in the whole quarter. Our guys are buying in to the importance of getting stops on defense. And they’re doing it as a team and by playing together and being smart.”
It was a close contest at halftime, with Dixie holding the slimmest lead of 26-25. But the Tigers couldn’t buy a bucket in the third quarter. A couple of free throws by Carson Bottema started the Flyers on a 10-0 run that lasted more than seven minutes – a run eerily similar to the one Dixie had last Friday in its win over Canyon View in which the Falcons went 7:10 without scoring and watched as Dixie went on a 9-0 run to win the game in the fourth quarter.
Hurricane missed five shots and turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter during that 7:25 stretch of futility. Adam Heyrend finally ended the frustration with two free throws, but by that time it was 36-27. Tanner Cuff closed the third with a bucket off a Payton Wilgar assist to make it 38-27 heading to the fourth.
“We just tried to make it tough for Hurricane to get any easy shots,” Cuff said. “They took some tough shots and that led to long rebounds and we had some chances in transition and got some easy baskets of our own.”
Hurricane finally got its offense untracked in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points in the frame, but it was an exercise in futility as the Flyers matched the Tigers nearly basket for basket. The lead grew to as many as 14 and never shrank below eight the rest of the game.
Tanner Cuff ended up with one of his best games at the varsity level. The coach’s son scored 27 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“He played a great floor game and it was fun to see him playing so well,” Coach Cuff said. “He was hitting from all over. Mid-range, going to the basket and from 3. We loved seeing that from him.”
Bottema was also sharp, scoring 22 points, as Dixie made 18 of 36 field goals and 21 of 29 free throws (72 percent).
Hurricane made just 14 of 41 shots in the game (34 percent), including just 4 of 18 on 3-pointers (22 percent). Jackson Last had an impressive line with 18 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists. Heyrend chipped in 13 points and four assists. The Tigers were playing without injured Reagan Marshall.
For Dixie, the victory clinches a playoff spot and a first-round home playoff game. At 9-0 in region (17-3 overall), the Flyers have a two-game lead on second-place Desert Hills. The two teams meet next week. Dixie travels to surging Snow Canyon on Friday.
Hurricane still owns third place in region at 5-4 (11-8 overall), but will likely need to win out to get a home playoff game as the Tigers trail second-place Desert Hills by two games. Those two teams meet at Hurricane Friday night.
Desert Hills 71, Pine View 51
Trying to keep pace with first-place Dixie, the Thunder can ill-afford to make any mistakes against lower-tier teams and Tucker Peterson and Ryan Marz made sure that didn’t happen at home. Peterson scored 21 points and had nine rebounds and Marz dominated the paint with 17 points on 8 of 12 shooting as D-Hills pulled away for the blowout win.
“Tucker shot the ball well tonight and Ryan Marz was solid inside,” Desert Hills coach Wade Turley said. “Tuck’s been struggling a little from outside, so it was good to see those go in. And when he makes those, people have to come out and guard him and then his best thing is getting to the basket.”
Peterson made three 3-pointers in the first half and had 13 points by intermission as the Thunder led 36-25 at the break. Peterson’s jumper with two seconds to go in the half gave Desert Hills that double-digit lead at the break.
Ryan Marz took over in the third quarter, scoring 11 points and going nearly unchecked by the undersized Panthers. He also blocked a couple of shots and physically dominated Pine View.
“We’re bigger than them, so we should dominate inside, but it was good to see,” Turley said. “Ryan has been playing really well.”
Those two players, Peterson and Marz, had more rebounds between them (18) than Pine View’s entire team (15).
Tyler Webber also had a major contribution for Desert Hills. The senior guard had nine points in the fourth quarter, including a breakaway dunk. He finished the night with 16 points.
Behind Jack O’Donnell (13 points, three assists, two steals), Pine View made a run in the third quarter and was able to pull within 42-37 after a trey by Hunter Moore and a free throw by Connor Brooksby. But a corner trey by Tyler Marz and a basket inside by Ryan Marz quickly pushed the lead back out to 10 at 47-37.
Another trey by Moore made it 47-40 with under two minutes to go in the third, but Ryan Marz scored five straight to close the third and make it 52-40 entering the fourth quarter. Pine View would get no closer than 10 the rest of the game.
“This is a game we had to have,” Turley said. “Pine View made it interesting at times, but our guys were focused and ready.”
At 7-2 in region play (14-5 overall), the Thunder trail Dixie by two games with three remaining. One of those games is at home against the Flyers (next Wednesday). Desert Hills has a tough road game first, with a trip to Hurricane on Friday night.
Pine View, which got 13 from O’Donnell and 10 from Moore, gave up too many easy shots to D-Hills. The Panthers shot a decent percentage at 43 percent for the game (18 for 42), but allowed the Thunder to make 63 percent of their shots (27 for 43). D-Hills also made 6 of 13 3-pointers. DH outrebounded PV 29-15.
The Panthers, who saw limited action from star guard Tayler Tobler (knees), were outscored in every quarter of the game. Pine View will try to bounce back from its fifth straight loss with a home game against Cedar on Friday.
Snow Canyon 60, Canyon View 54
“As far as playing together as a team, this was our best game of the season,” SC coach Jamison Sorenson said. “What it all boils down to is trust. The guys are starting to trust in their teammates and starting to trust me and my other coaches. And that’s translating into us being in position to win games.”
With a 1-5 record through the first half of region play, Snow Canyon needed to get hot in the second half. And it did. SC has won three out of the last four games and has pulled itself within a game of the Falcons and a game-and-a-half of the Hurricane Tigers.
“I can’t emphasize enough how proud I am of my team and how the guys have stuck with it through the ups and downs of the season,” Sorenson said. “They’ve faced a lot of adversity and I am really impressed with how they’ve stuck with it and battled.”
Braden Baker and Joey Robertson led the way in the win for Snow Canyon, which never trailed in the game.
“Canyon View played hard and they made a run,” Sorenson said. “In the past when teams made their runs, we kind of struggled. But tonight, guys bought into trusting one another and trusting in their defense and when it got a little bit close, we valued our possessions and were patient and got the job done.”
Baker had 26 points and did it in a variety of ways, hitting 3-pointers, mid-range shots and driving layups.
“He was just a nightmare for Canyon View tonight,” Sorenson said. “And Joey Robertson doesn’t get rattled. It doesn’t matter what the score is or what else is going on, he just stays calm and either finds a teammate or makes a move in the post.”
Robertson chipped in 14 points and Cole Warner had 12, plus made a block in the fourth quarter that helped save the game.
“He had a chase-down block that was huge,” Sorenson said. “Canyon View was making a run and he got that block and then we got the ball and were able to be patient and get an important basket.”
Snow Canyon led by four at halftime (26-22) and bumped the lead to 34-28 after three quarters. Canyon View was able to get it to a single-possession game in the fourth, but never could overcome the Warriors.
The Warriors (8-12 overall and 4-6 in region) and Falcons (10-12 and 5-5) each have a bye coming up and have just two region games left. Snow Canyon plays host to Dixie Friday, then has a bye next Wednesday with the season finale Feb. 16 at Hurricane.
Canyon View is on a bye Friday and finishes next week with a game at Pine View on Wednesday and a home against Desert Hills Feb. 16.
Dixie 59, Hurricane 48
Desert Hills 71, Pine View 51
Snow Canyon 60, Canyon View 54
Region 9 Standings
Dixie 9-0, 17-3
Desert Hills 7-2, 14-5
Hurricane 5-4, 11-8
Canyon View 5-5, 10-12
Snow Canyon 4-6, 8-12
Pine View 2-8, 6-13
Cedar 1-8, 8-12
Cedar at Pine View
Desert Hills at Hurricane
Dixie at Snow Canyon
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