ST. GEORGE — Of the seven Region 9 teams still in the playoffs on Friday night, only four advanced on to the quarterfinals. There was also two Region 9 matchups on Friday as Dixie took on Snow Canyon and Pine View played Desert Hills. Cedar and Hurricane played at home against teams from up north while Crimson Cliffs was the only team that had to travel. Dixie, Desert Hills, Cedar and Hurricane all advanced, making up four of the final eight spots in the tournament.
The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship games will all be played at Weber State next Thursday through Saturday.
No. 4 Cedar 54, No. 13 Tooele 47
At Cedar High, the Reds outlasted the Tooele Buffaloes in a turnover-filled game that wasn’t decided until late in the final quarter. The first quarter ended in a 14-14 tie, after which Cedar outscored Tooele 16-10 in the second period to take a 30-24 halftime lead.
Cedar’s offense went chilly during the third quarter, scoring just six points, with Gaige Savage making three layups to account for all of them. Even so, Cedar still held a 36-32 lead heading into the fourth. Tooele then went on a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter, with the Buffaloes taking a 39-36 lead with 6:05 remaining.
“They went up three and we weathered the storm for a bit. We regrouped and came back,” said Cedar head coach Mark Esplin. “This group has learned a little bit of resiliency and mental toughness. We’ve learned how to win close games.”
After Zab Santana hit a 3-pointer with 2:54 left to put Cedar ahead 45-41, the Reds never trailed again – making several defensive stops down the stretch and converting seven consecutive free throws in the final two minutes as Tooele began to foul intentionally.
“We played through some nerves tonight,” Esplin added. “This is a team that hasn’t been to the state tournament for five years, so we do not have anybody on the team with playoff experience.”
Savage finished with 14 points, while Santana scored 11, including seven in the fourth period. Landon Barney and Dallin Grant each contributed seven points for the Reds. The Buffaloes were led by Justin Rogers’ 15 points, while Canyon Christensen added 13.
With the win, Cedar advances to the 4A state tournament next week at Weber State University in Ogden. In a quarterfinal matchup scheduled for Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Reds will next face Region 9 rival and No. 12 seed Desert Hills, which upset Pine View 57-56 on Friday night.
The Thunder beat Cedar both times the teams met during the regular season.
— Written by Jeff Richards
No. 2 Dixie 58, No. 15 Snow Canyon 48
Two Region 9 teams matched up in the second round of the state playoffs and it was a good one. After a low-scoring first half for both teams, Snow Canyon was only down four at halftime and the Warriors were within reach of the Flyers. The first two times these teams played each other, the game was tied at halftime similar to Friday night’s game.
The Flyers kept pushing in the second half and extended the lead to 10 points in the win. Isaac Finlinson led the Flyers with 17 points while Cole Warner had a game-high 18 points for Snow Canyon.
With the win, Dixie moves on to Weber State, where they will play No. 10 Green Canyon on Thursday at 12:50 p.m.
No. 8 Hurricane 81, No. 9 Bear River 67
Hurricane found themselves down one after the first quarter but with a solid second quarter took a four-point lead going into halftime. The second half proved to be an offensive battle with Hurricane scoring 54 total points.
The Tigers finished the game with a big 32-point fourth quarter to seal the win at home. Bryce Thomas had 32 points while Dax Dayley added 21 points.
With the win, Hurricane moves on to face No. 1 Sky View at Weber State Thursday at 11:10 a.m.
No. 12 Desert Hills 57, No. 5 Pine View 56
After two of the best matchups of the region season, the third meeting between Desert Hills and Pine View did not disappoint.
The Thunder went into the locker room up one at halftime, but Pine View came out and took a seven-point lead in the third.
The Thunder kept fighting and the game started to go back and forth. With less than five seconds left and Pine View up one, Peyton Holmes got fouled on a jump shot and made one of two free throws to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Thunder were able to pull out the road victory and advance on in the state tournament.
“They have respect and I have respect for Pine View,” Thunder head coach Wade Turley said. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight. We just had a quiet confidence about us, I felt good about our game plan, our kids were locked in and when we have everybody healthy I think we’re as good, or can beat anybody on any given night.”
Peyton Holmes had 17 points while Mason Chase had 11. In the loss, Jared Koller scored a game-high 24 points for the Panthers.
“Yeah, you think about it, lose to Cedar in overtime, lose to Dixie in overtime, lose to Desert Hills last time on a last second shot, beat them over here on a last second shot, just so many games this year have come down to the wire,” Pine View head coach Ryan Eves said of the game being a microcosm of their season. “It’s not good for my health but they battle. That’s the fun part about this group. It was definitely an emotional year but it was a lot of fun.”
The Thunder move on to play Cedar in the quarterfinals at Weber State on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.
“9 a.m.? I didn’t know that,” Mason Chase said of their matchup on Thursday. “That kind of put a damper on my mood but that’s all right. We’ll be alright definitely. Every one of these guys will be good.”
No. 6 Juan Diego 62, No. 11 Crimson Cliffs 46
The Mustangs’ season ended on Friday after a tough loss to Juan Diego on the road. Crimson was only down two at halftime but Juan Diego pushed the lead to double figures in the second half.
Jaxson Schneider had 19 points for Crimson Cliffs while Trei Rockhill added 11 points.
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