ST. GEORGE — In Region 9’s boys basketball openers Tuesday night, Pine View and Cedar City both won close games that came down to the final shot, while Dixie and Crimson Cliffs each posted double-digit victories.
Pine View 48, Desert Hills 47
The defending Region 9 champions opened up their region season with a big win against Desert Hills, 48-47. Ryan Hopper hit a shot with about four seconds left to get the victory for the Panthers.
Desert Hills went up early and came out with all of the energy. This was something Pine view was expecting, and it still caught them by surprise.
“Yeah, they want to get us,” head coach Ryan Eves said. “They didn’t have a great season, they beat us at home but we beat them pretty good over there and we beat them in the spring. They were hungry. I told the guys, there are no cakewalks in this region.”
They were up by 8 at the end of the first quarter, but Pine View was able to get back into the game by holding the Thunder to just four points in the second quarter. The game started to go back and forth, but Pine View took their first lead at the six-minute mark of the third quarter. Desert Hills eventually was up 44-34 with five minutes left in the game after a big-time run.
The last five minutes of the game were all Pine View, only allowing the Thunder to score three points while making a late run to get the win. The biggest difference-maker was Pine View’s full-court pressure, which caused a number of tough turnovers for the Thunder. Add in some tough calls from the referees, and Pine View had a slight opening to make some plays. They did just that.
“That’s not something we love to go to but luckily we have the guys,” Eves said of their late full-court press. “Between Taiven and Hopper they’ve got motors and they just go, go, go.”
With about 18 seconds left on the clock, the Thunder inbounded the ball to Mason Chase, who was ruled as being out of bounds. Pine View now had the ball down one.
After running through a set and not finding an opening, the Panthers got the ball to senior Ryan Hopper who made a great play. Hopper drove to the basket, jump stopped and then pivoted to get the open look. He drained a floater with about four seconds left on the clock.
“It was supposed to be a play for him coming off the screen, so I was like, just let Suds (Sudweeks) do his thing, see if he can get a bucket and if he doesn’t then see where it goes from there,” Hopper said. “He gave it to me and I think I had the spin move around Mason (Chase). I hit him with the fake and after I hit him with that fake I knew it was in just because I’ve practiced that shot so many times.”
He also mentioned that he thought Desert Hills is a top-five team in the state right now. Eves spoke highly of the three-year starting point guard after the game.
“He does,” Eves said of Hopper wanting the ball late. “Out of all the guys he probably has the most experience. He started for us as a sophomore and he hit a shot very similar to that against Canyon View down one. He’s a gamer. Smallest guy on the court but he has handles, he plays tough defense, he does a little bit of everything.”
Big time bucket out of Ryan Hopper. PV up 48-47 with 4.9 left in the game. pic.twitter.com/duFTi06rpA
— St. George News Sports (@STGnewsSports) December 11, 2019
The Thunder called a timeout, but could not get an open look, and the Panthers student section rushed the floor after the exhilarating victory.
The Panthers did get the win, but this was a lesson for them. Everyone will give them their best effort because they have a target on their back. They were able to find their way out of a deep hole this time, but they cannot do that going forward.
Mason Chase was a constant for the Thunder, scoring 15 points on the night with six assists, while Reggie Newby had 14 points. Jared Koller had 14 points for the Panthers while reigning Region 9 MVP Jared Sudweeks had nine points.
This game was similar to the final game of the region season last year where Desert Hills was able to beat Pine View in a very close game. This time, the tables turned and Pine View made a great play in the final seconds.
Region 9 play resumes next week with Pine View at home against Crimson Cliffs and Desert Hills at home against Hurricane on Tuesday. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.
Cedar City 40, Hurricane 37
At Cedar City, the Cedar Reds edged Hurricane 40-37, with the Tigers missing a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Trailing 26-17 at halftime, Hurricane outscored Cedar 20-14 in the second half and briefly took the lead at one point in the fourth quarter. Down the stretch, however, the Tigers missed a couple of shots with about 1:30 left to play. Thirty seconds later, with the score still 36-34, Cedar’s Dallin Grant blocked a baseline drive, giving the Reds back the ball.
Cedar guard Treyton Tebbs then made a pair of free throws to put the Reds up by four, 38-34, but on the ensuing possession, Hurricane’s Brandon Langston buried a 3-pointer to bring the Tigers within one, 38-37, with about 41 seconds left.
The two teams then traded turnovers, with each committing an offensive foul. The Tigers then intentionally fouled Grant with 11.7 seconds remaining. Grant missed the front end of the one-and-one, but teammate Landon Barney came up with the rebound and got the ball back to Grant, who was fouled again. This time, he made both free throws to give the Reds a three-point cushion with 7.3 seconds left.
On its final possession, Hurricane managed to get off a 3-pointer before time expired, but the shot hit the rim and the Reds escaped with the win.
“Luckily, we were up nine at the half,” said Cedar head coach Mark Esplin afterward. “We only scored 14 in the second half, but we had a big enough lead that we were able to hang on. They got a great look at the end, at a three which would have sent us to overtime, but he missed it.”
Esplin attributed the win to his team’s defensive efforts.
“That’s what we’ve been preaching is we’re a defensive team,” he said. “We have guys accept their roles on the team, which may not be necessarily what they wanted, but it is what as a team, suits us best.”
“I can’t say enough about our rebounding tonight,” Esplin said, citing the names of several players.
“Jaron Garrett came off the bench and played some big minutes defensively and help shut down the Thomas kid, who I think is one of the best players in the region,” Esplin added, referring to Hurricane’s Bryce Thomas, who finished with 11 points.
Grant led all scorers with 12 points, while teammate Luke Armstrong added 11. The Reds managed just four points in the third quarter and four field goals in the second half. For Hurricane, Daxton Dayley also contributed 11 points.
The Reds improved to 3-0 with the win, having beaten non-region opponents last week. Cedar won 69-53 at Enterprise on Dec. 3. Two days later, on Saturday, the Reds won at home against Juan Diego, 59-53. Cedar’s next three games are all on the road: Friday at Cedar Valley, Saturday at Lehi and next Tuesday at region rival Dixie.
Hurricane, meanwhile, dropped to 1-1 with the loss, having edged Juan Diego 61-60 on Dec. 6. The Tigers next play at Desert Hills on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
— written by Jeff Richards
Dixie 71, Canyon View 42
At Canyon View, the Dixie Flyers opened up a big lead in the first quarter and coasted to a victory over the Falcons.
Dixie came out strong, building a 24-8 lead in the first quarter and extending it to 39-18 at halftime. Dixie’s Isaac Finlinson scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half, including five 3-pointers.
“I was really happy about how our team started and played tonight,” said Dixie head coach Tyler Roberts, who noted that his team recorded 15 assists and saw 11 different players in the scoring column.
“Our team defense was good most of the game,” Roberts added. “Jordan Mathews was huge for us on the defensive end and also on the offensive end with 21 points.”
Canyon View was led by Jaxon Jorgenson’s 20 points, while teammate Trevor Farrow had 18 points.
“They had a great game tonight, and are both tough to guard,” Roberts added.
The Flyers improved to 3-1 overall with the win, having won two of three non-region games at the Corner Canyon Tournament of Champions last week. Dixie lost to Syracuse 63-62 last Thursday but bounced back to beat Lehi 59-53 on Friday and Alta 56-43 on Saturday.
This coming weekend, the Flyers will host the Ken Robinson Classic, with Dixie scheduled to play Tooele on Friday at 7:15 p.m. and Salem Hills on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. The Flyers’ next region contest will be at home next Tuesday, Dec. 17 against Cedar City.
Meanwhile, Canyon View dropped to 1-4 overall with the loss. The Falcons’ lone win was a 55-51 defeat of Mohave, Arizona during an invitational tournament in Las Vegas on Dec. 6. Canyon View’s next scheduled game is a region contest at Snow Canyon on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.
— written by Jeff Richards
Crimson Cliffs 69, Snow Canyon 54
Crimson Cliffs got it’s first Region 9 win in the history of the program with a home win over Snow Canyon. The first half saw an explosion of offense, but the second half was the opposite.
Snow Canyon was up two at the half but the Mustangs were able to limit the Warriors offensively in the second half, outscoring them 31-14 in the final 16 minutes.
Lyman Simmons led the way for the Warriors with 16 points and 9 rebounds while Cole Warner had 10 points. For the Mustangs senior Jacob Nielsen continues to shine, scoring 22 points on the night with 7 rebounds. Crimson Cliffs also had big nights from Trei Rockhill and Ryan Roundy, who contributed 19 points and 13 points respectively.
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