ST. GEORGE — Wednesday was a night of lopsided wins in Region 9 boys basketball, as Dixie and Desert Hills rolled to wins at home while Cedar and Snow Canyon each picked up road victories. Here’s a recap of the action:
Dixie 74, Crimson Cliffs 54
The Flyers secured a big win for the RPI rankings and in the Region 9 standings, making a statement at the Hangar.
Dixie’s best-in-state defense controlled the Mustangs’ high-octane offense with a little help from cold shooting from Crimson Cliffs. The Flyers took an early lead that would carry them across the finish line, entering the second quarter with a 19-5 lead. It was Crimson’s lowest scoring quarter in Region 9 play this season and only the third individual quarter this season it was held to single digits.
“Credit to my coaches for preparing a great game plan against a very good offensive team and our guys executed,” Dixie head coach Tyler Roberts told St. George News. “They made it very difficult for them to get good looks. That was our goal, just to buy into defense, get stops and continue to be that No. 1 defensive team.”
After Trei Rockhill airballed a 3-pointer on the opening possession, Jeff Cox cleaned it up and eventually worked it to Isaac Finlinson, who hit the rushing layup to start the scoring in favor of Dixie. Cole Sampson scored in the paint and the teams traded free throws before the Flyers went on a 10-point run to expand a double-digit lead just five minutes into the game at 13-3. Six different Flyers landed points in the first frame with Ethan Bennett’s six leading the way. The Flyers played aggressive defense and capitalized on turnovers and rebounds quickly.
Crimson’s scoring woke up in the second quarter to the tune of 17 points, but it was still outscored in the frame by four, as Alessio DeHart dominated the post play for nine points in that frame alone. Hudson Hawes landed a 3-pointer for Crimson, one of the Mustangs’ season-low two during the game. Even as Crimson saw scoring from six players of their own in the quarter, they struggled to post a consistent effort on both sides of the court against a high-flying Dixie squad.
That began to change in the third quarter. Entering the frame down by 18, the Mustangs went on a 14-7 run over the next four minutes. It took less than three minutes for them to reach the double digit mark in the quarter as they continued to spread the ball around and look for opportunities to drive the paint or kick it in to their big men rather than use their patented sniping from the arc. Late in the quarter, they had cut the gap to nine at 38-47 and ended the frame at that deficit. They held Dixie to just nine points, one of the Flyers’ lowest scoring frames of the season in Region 9 play, as well.
The Mustangs’ rallying came at a cost they would pay in the fourth quarter, however. They entered the fourth quarter with six fouls, playing aggressive defense to suppress the Flyers’ offense. At the 6:49 mark, Finlinson took a foul driving the rim to get Dixie into the bonus. From there, the strategy was simple for Roberts with an 11-point lead: get the ball in the hands of his best movers in Finlinson and Bennett and let Crimson send them to the line.
Finlinson landed eight free throws in the final period and Bennett hit three. Carson Forsey added one of his own as Dixie stretched their lead back out.
Those free throws helped Finlinson lead the game with 23 points. He finished 12-for-16 from the line. Bennett and DeHart tied for second in scoring on the team with 13 points apiece.
For Crimson, Brock Felder set the pace in scoring with 12. He was the lone Mustang to score in every quarter. Rockhill was second with 11 points, including the team’s only other 3-pointer.
Dixie improves to 10-1 on the Region 9 calendar and 16-3 overall. On Friday, they travel to Snow Canyon for a rematch with the Warriors, the lone league team to deal the Flyers a loss this season.
“It was definitely our worst game of the year,” Roberts said. “We’ve just got to continue to play the way we’ve been playing: together. I’m not really looking back, I don’t even know if I’ll watch that game back, to be honest.”
Crimson Cliffs suffered its third Region 9 loss, dropping to 8-3 and 16-3 overall. The Mustangs host the Canyon View Falcons on Friday to close out the penultimate week of the season.
Snow Canyon 59, Hurricane 42
The Warriors went on the road and used a steady defensive effort to topple the Tigers.
Lyman Simmons scored at least four points in each quarter and the Warriors hit on 10 shots from beyond the arc to produce a balanced scoring effort, producing at least 14 points in each frame. Snow Canyon won the rebound game on the back of the sizable Simmons.
“It was a good win for us,” Snow Canyon head coach Doug Meacham said. “Our goal is to keep getting better through these final weeks. This is the time of year that teams can get distracted by all kinds of things and keeping a relentless focus is our mentality right now.”
By the half, Snow Canyon led 30-19 on the strength of those 3-pointers. The Warriors went 5-for-11 from the arc in the first 16 minutes as both teams landed seven field goals from the inside.
Hurricane won the third quarter 15-14, the only frame in which they outpaced Snow Canyon. Five different Tigers scored, four with at least three points. Luke Wright had a pair of 2-pointers to lead the way in the frame. The gap still remained at 10 points at the end of the frame and it was ultimately too much to overcome as the Tigers produced only eight points in the fourth quarter.
Simmons led the game with 23 points. Isaac Lyon was second with 14 points on a team-high four buckets from the perimeter. Lincoln Polatis scored nine on a trio of treys and Blake Munson tied him in scoring.
“I’m proud of Isaac Lyon as he’s grown through the season and allowed his game to come to him,” Meacham said. “He’s a great shooter and his defense was active. Proud of our guards for just trusting each other and allowing the ball to move better and better but they stayed aggressive.”
For Hurricane, Cason Esplin and Wright tied with eight points to lead the way. Kruz Gardner, Jack Reeve and Josh Leavenworth each added six.
The Warriors improve to 14-5 overall and 7-4 in league, tied for third place in Region 9 with Cedar. They host No. 1 Dixie on Friday with a target on their backs: Snow Canyon remains the only Region 9 team to beat the Flyers this season.
Hurricane falls to 1-10 in region and 2-17 overall. The Tigers host Desert Hills next.
Desert Hills 73, Pine View 46
The Panthers held their own at the Thunderdome early on but ultimately couldn’t keep up with the Desert Hills offense.
The Thunder pulled away with a 27-point third quarter, led by Keegan Munson’s 11 points in the frame. The scoring rampage turned a five-point lead at the beginning of the quarter into a 14-point one by the end of the period. A 19-point fourth left no doubt in the win.
Lucca Mamone hit on two treys in the first quarter to lead the underdog Panthers to just a one-point trail by the first buzzer, 13-14. But an output of just 19 points across the middle quarters spelled doom for Pine View. They hit just seven field goals during the second and third quarters combined.
The Panthers were also hurt by a 6-for-15 effort from the free-throw line.
Munson led the game with 18 points. Mason Landdeck and Reggie Newby each scored 13 for the Thunder.
Mamone and Justin Hall both scored 10 to pace Pine View.
Desert Hills improves to 8-3, tied with Crimson Cliffs for second in Region 9. The Thunder are 16-3 overall, also tied with Crimson and Dixie for the best mark in the region. The Thunder travel to Hurricane on Friday.
Pine View falls to 3-8 in league and 4-13 overall. It hosts Cedar next.
Cedar 67, Canyon View 38
At Canyon View, Cedar’s Dallin Grant made an emphatic dunk at the start of the game that set the tone for the night, as the Reds went on to defeat the Falcons by nearly 30 points.
Luke Armstrong followed Grant’s dunk with an inside layup on Cedar’s next possession, but Canyon View got a driving basket from Hayden Zobell followed by a 3-pointer by Dennis Farrow to briefly take a 5-4 lead.
The Reds ended up finishing the first quarter with a 7-0 run to make it 13-7. Cedar then outscored the Falcons 14-6 during the second quarter to take a 27-13 halftime lead.
Both teams remained on the floor for a few minutes at the start of the halftime break as the beneficiary of this year’s Steve Hodson Cancer Classic fundraiser was publicly announced. Although this season’s event, staged over three days in late December, didn’t allow parents and other fans to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions, host schools Cedar and Canyon View still managed to raise $4,500 in behalf of this year’s recipient. Chari Hensler, a school psychologist who enjoys power lifting as a hobby, is currently battling cancer. She and her husband David are the parents of five children. The Hensler family didn’t attend Wednesday’s game in person due to safety concerns, but athletic director Kyle Robinson recently made the ceremonial check presentation at their home in Cedar City.
When the game resumed after halftime, Cedar’s momentum picked up right where it left off, with the Reds scoring the first 13 points of the third quarter. That was the start of a 25-5 run that put Cedar up 52-18 after three.
By the time the teams cleared their benches with a couple minutes left in the fourth, Cedar was 38 points ahead, 64-26. Canyon View’s reserve players outscored Cedar 12-3 at the end to account for the final margin.
Guard Treyton Tebbs led the way for Cedar with 16 points, while Cedar’s other four starting players finished with nine points apiece: Grant, Armstrong, Zab Santana and Gaige Savage.
Canyon View was led by Zobell’s 12 points.
The Reds improved to 7-4 in region play with the win. They travel to Pine View on Friday. Meanwhile, Canyon View, which is still looking for its first region win, plays at Crimson Cliffs.
— written by Jeff Richards
Friday’s game schedule (Feb. 12)
- Dixie at Snow Canyon
- Cedar at Pine View
- Desert Hills at Hurricane
- Canyon View at Crimson Cliffs
Region 9 boys basketball standings (as of Feb. 11)
- Dixie 10-1 (16-3) RPI: 5th
- (tie) Crimson Cliffs 8-3 (16-3) RPI: 1st
- (tie) Desert Hills 8-3 (16-3) RPI: 4th
- Snow Canyon 7-4 (14-5) RPI: 7th
- Cedar 7-4 (12-6) RPI: 6th
- Pine View 3-8 (4-13) RPI: 16th
- Hurricane 1-10 (2-17) RPI: 17th
- Canyon View 0-11 (1-18) RPI: 20th
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