Region 9 boys basketball: Snow Canyon upsets Dixie on night of lopsided wins

ST. GEORGE — In a night of lopsided contests, the Snow Canyon boys basketball team put the defensive stops on the Dixie Flyers at the Hangar on Wednesday, with the Warriors coming away with a 55-40 upset victory. In other action around Region 9, Desert Hills and Cedar both won at home, while Crimson Cliffs defeated Canyon View on the road.

Snow Canyon 55, Dixie 40

The Warriors pulled off the road upset, riding the high of an early lead all the way to the finish against the defending state champs.

It became clear quickly that it would be a low-scoring affair, as neither team scored until Isaac Finlinson finally hit a layup for Dixie around the 5:30 mark of the first quarter. Snow Canyon went on a 12-point from there and didn’t look back. While the Warriors didn’t put together a marquee Region 9 scoring performance, they played strong enough defense and benefited from Dixie’s unlucky shooting all night.

In the entire first half, the Flyers landed only four field goals, all 2-pointers. They hit only 10 field goals the entire game and did not land a 3-pointer.

Lyman Simmons and Will Warner team up for a block for Snow Canyon basketball at Dixie, St. George, Utah, Jan. 20, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

The Warriors pressed on defense all game, keeping Dixie from getting comfortable and establishing its transition game that helped lead it to the state 4A championship one season ago.

Dixie scored only four points in the first quarter and only seven in the second quarter. The Flyers had been held to single digits in a single quarter only one other time all season, scoring seven in the third quarter against nationally-ranked Wasatch Academy on Dec. 10.

“It’s kind of a fluke a little bit where they didn’t hit shots,” Snow Canyon head coach Doug Meacham said. “But I also thought we kind of forced them to play a little bit of defense and played with poise.”

That poise didn’t come in the form of discipline, however. The Warriors got Dixie into the bonus before the five-minute mark of the second quarter and reached five fouls just three minutes into the third quarter. 

Entering the fourth quarter, Snow Canyon had a 37-24 lead but already had Dixie in the bonus again and had to balance its aggression with playing controlled and not sending the Flyers to the free-throw line.

The Snow Canyon basketball team and head coach Doug Meacham celebrate at Dixie, St. George, Utah, Jan. 20, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

In total, the Warriors sent the Flyers to the line 25 times. Finlinson went 12-for-15 on FT attempts and Ethan Bennett went 4-for-4. Finlinson went 6-for-6 during the last quarter.

“We had to keep our attack,” Snow Canyon sophomore center Lyman Simmons said. “But in order to keep them from getting free shots, we had to make them play at our tempo and kind of make them play with us in order to get back on defense.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Flyers held their own but fell victim to good ball movement and timely shooting from the Warriors. Playing with the lead, Snow Canyon was able to control the tempo and look for their opportunities. Snow Canyon’s 55 points were its second-fewest through five Region 9 games but also only four points behind its conference-high 59 scored on Jan. 8 against Pine View. The Warriors maintained a double-digit lead for the majority of the game.

Finlinson led Dixie with 18 points. Bennett also broke into double digits with 12.

For the Warriors, Simmons paced the team with 19 points. He went 4-for-4 from the line, scored six from down low and hit a 3-pointer. Blake Munson scored 12 and went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line. Walker Morrison scored 10. Snow Canyon landed six from the perimeter in the game.

Dixie loses its first Region 9 game in nearly a year, snapping a six-game league win streak started on Feb. 11, 2020. The Flyers fall to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in league play. They host undefeated Desert Hills on Friday.

Snow Canyon improves to 3-2 in league and 10-3 overall. The Warriors host Canyon View next.

Cedar 89, Pine View 66

At Cedar, the Reds got a huge offensive output from their three tallest players in a 23-point victory over visiting Pine View.

Starting center Dallin Grant poured in 27 points for Cedar, while fellow post player Luke Armstrong added 20. Each recorded multiple slam dunks. Coming off the bench was 6-foot-6-inch Aaron Munson, who contributed a solid 18 points. 

Cedar led 21-15 after one quarter, then used a 24-8 run during the second quarter to nearly double up the Panthers by halftime, 45-23.

The Panthers managed to rally to get within 14 points during the third quarter, outscoring the Reds 25-19 during the period. 

Pine View at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 20, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Cedar then pulled away with a 25-point effort in the fourth, with most of the Reds’ reserve players seeing action over the final few minutes.

Cedar head coach Mark Esplin said he was pleased with his team’s offensive effort.

“We’ve got guys that can score,” he said. “We flat out dominated in the post, where we knew we had a little bit of an advantage. We’ve got to take advantage of mismatches and we did that.”

Additionally, the team’s outside shooters benefited early in the game from having the ball passed out to them around the perimeter, he added.

“But defensively, we’ve got to get better,” Esplin said. “Against teams that can really get up and down the floor and score, we’re going to be in trouble. We’re going to have to score 89 to even be in the game.”

Pine View was led by Bensen Shepherd’s 18 points. He was one of four Panthers in double figures, as Justin Hall scored 16, Lucca Mamone added 13 and Rushton Shaw made 12. Together, the foursome accounted for all but seven of Pine View’s total points on the night.

Cedar improves to 9-3 overall with the win, 4-1 in Region 9 play. The Reds next play at Crimson Cliffs on Friday.

Meanwhile, Pine View dropped to 2-9 overall, 1-4 in region with the loss. The Panthers travel to Hurricane to face the Tigers on Friday.

— written by Jeff Richards

Crimson Cliffs 58, Canyon View 45

At Canyon View, the Falcons got off to a promising start against Crimson Cliffs, but ultimately the Mustangs pulled away for a 13-point victory.

Canyon View made two 3-pointers at the start of the game to get off to an early 6-0 lead, but Crimson Cliffs managed to pull ahead 11-10 by the end of the first quarter.

Crimson Cliffs at Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 20, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Mustangs outscored Canyon View 17-10 during the second period to take a 28-20 halftime lead. After an evenly matched third quarter, the Mustangs pulled away down the stretch.

Mustang senior Cole Sampson led all scorers with 25 points, while center Brock Felder added nine.

The Falcons were paced by Hayden Zobell’s 14 points, while Brended Greenhalgh added eight.

Crimson improves to 11-2 overall, 3-2 in Region 9. The Mustangs host Cedar on Friday.

Meanwhile, Canyon View drops to 1-12 overall and is winless in five region games. The Falcons travel to Snow Canyon to play the Warriors on Friday night.

— written by Jeff Richards

Desert Hills 76, Hurricane 46

The Thunder exploded to a 22-4 lead after the first quarter and didn’t take their feet off the gas offensively until garbage time, cruising to an easy win at home.

“I really liked our energy and effort in the first two quarters,” Desert Hills head coach Chris Allred said.

Six different players scored for Desert Hills in the first quarter alone. The number swelled to nine by game’s end. No player put up the extravagant scoring numbers they are capable of as the starters were gradually pulled as the game got out of reach. 

Mason Landdeck led the game with 14 points. Preston Vandermyde was right behind with 13. Peyton Holmes scored 12 to round out the Thunders’ double-digit scorers.

Kruz Gardner led Hurricane’s scorers with 11 points, including five field goals. Jack Reeve also landed five field goals for 10 points.

Desert Hills is undefeated through 13 games and five Region 9 games. The Thunder head to the Hangar on Friday for a date with Dixie.

The Tigers drop to 1-12 and 0-5 in league. Hurricane hosts Pine View on Friday.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!