4A boys state basketball: February Madness begins; Region 9 teams go 3-2 in Round 1

ST. GEORGE —  Three Region 9 boys basketball teams fared well at home in the first round of the 4A state tournament Wednesday night, but two teams fell on the road and saw their seasons come to an end. 

In the Thunderdome, No. 15 Desert Hills shook off a slow first quarter and went on to crush the No. 18 Jordan Beetdiggers by 20 points.

In the Pit, No. 12 Pine View upended No. 21 Uintah behind a balanced offense and ended up winning by 22.

In the Fieldhouse, No. 13 Crimson Cliffs used an 18-2 run in the fourth quarter to break open what had been a one-point game and went on to beat No. 20 Hillcrest by 18.

Meanwhile on the road, No. 23 Cedar gave No. 10 Mountain View a whale of a game but lost by one point and No. 22 Hurricane competed hard in a heart-breaking three-point overtime loss at No. 11 Bear River.

Click here to view the 4A boys state basketball tournament bracket.

Desert Hills 71, Jordan 51

A slow start for both teams led to a 12-9 Desert Hills advantage after the first quarter, but then the Thunder’s lethal 3-point shooters started to get shots to fall and the home team ran away with it.

Desert Hills’ Chaz Holbrook burns through Jordan’s defense in a 4A boys state basketball playoff game, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“Early on it didn’t seem like anything was falling, but then we kind of got our footing and started playing a little better,” Desert Hills coach Chris Allred told St. George News after the game. “I thought a big part of it was when Hunter (Clark) and Chase (Curtis) came in there in the first quarter. They gave us a big lift defensively and we started playing a little bit more aggressively.”

The visiting Beetdiggers managed just three field goals for seven points in the second quarter while the Thunder rained 3’s.

Mason Rasmussen, Jackson Holman and Eli Allred all splashed long balls and Desert Hills erupted for a 25-point quarter that led to a 37-16 advantage at halftime.

The Thunder sank 10 3-pointers in the win. Rasmussen and Ben Chase made three apiece and both Holman and Allred each sank two 3-pointers.

“I felt like we really started to figure out what makes us tick and guys started filling their roles really well over the second half of region,” coach Allred said. “Defensively we’ve just gotten better, which has helped on the offensive end as well.”

Eli Allred led all scorers with 22 points in the win. Chase was right behind with 21 points and Holman contributed 12 points for Desert Hills. 

Nine different Beetdiggers scored at least a point in the setback. Jordan was led by 16 points from Preston Chenney.

The first-round win earned Desert Hills a state playoff matchup with Region 9 winner and No. 2 seed Dixie.

The two teams last met on Valentine’s Day, when Desert Hills played the Flyers to a tight finish but lost in the end 67-62. Dixie won by 31 the first time they played in the Hangar on Jan. 19.

“All of the pressure is on them,” coach Allred said. “We just want to compete and put pressure on them. We’re the 15-seed and they’re the 2-seed. March Madness always has a few of those upsets, so why not us?”

Desert Hills and Dixie tip off in the Hangar Friday at 7 p.m.

Pine View 75, Uintah 53

The host Panthers followed much the same script as Desert Hills, jumping ahead early and never allowing the visiting Utes back in the game.

Griffen Shepherd of Pine View goes up for a layup vs. Uintah in the first round of the 4A boys state playoffs, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2024 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

The Panthers exploded at the tipoff and went on to grab a 24-9 lead after the first quarter. The Utes managed just seven points in the second session and trailed 43-16 at halftime.

Uintah trimmed seven points off the lead in the third quarter but Pine View didn’t allow the Utes any room to come back in the final frame.  

Griffen Shepherd led Pine View to the win with his 3-pointer and 24 points. Adam Moore sank three treys and contributed 16 points for the winners.

Jelani Odjegba netted a 3 along with his 11 points for the Panthers and Nash Schroeder was next with a 3-ball and seven total points in the victory.

The visitors were paced by a game-high 26 points from Dauson Gardiner.

Pine View earned a second-round playoff matchup Friday night at No. 5 Ridgeline.

Crimson Cliffs 72, Hillcrest 54

At Crimson Cliffs, the Mustangs broke open a tight game with an 18-2 run to start the fourth quarter to defeat the Huskies.

Sean Felts of Crimson Cliffs dunks the ball vs. Hillcrest in 4A first-round playoff action, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 21, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

The game stayed close for three quarters, with Hillcrest taking a 15-13 lead after one quarter and Crimson leading 29-27 at halftime and 41-40 at the end of the third.

Crimson then scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter and didn’t let up, eventually taking a 59-42 lead.

The crowd-pleasing rally was punctuated by three 3-pointers by Steele Barben and a thunderous breakaway dunk by center Sean Felts.

Hillcrest tried to foul its way back into the game but was unable to get any closer than 10 points down the stretch.

The Mustangs sank 11-of-12 free throws during the fourth quarter, including a perfect 8-for-8 by guard Noah Nelson, who finished with 10 points.

Barben led the Mustangs’ balanced offensive attack with 18 points, 13 of them coming during the fourth quarter. Felts and Johnson each scored 12 points, while Drake Carroll added nine and McKay Lindquist contributed eight.

Hillcrest was led by Isaac Miller’s 15 points, with Damani Wilkerson adding 12.

The Huskies ended their season with an overall record of 9-15.

Crimson, which improved to 13-10 overall on the season, advanced to play No. 4 seed Green Canyon on Friday night in North Logan.

– written by Jeff Richards

Mountain View 68, Cedar 67

The Reds did everything but hold on in the end against the Bruins. 

Cedar led 19-17 after the first quarter and took a 32-30 advantage into halftime.

Mountain View answered back to take a 51-49 lead into the fourth quarter in a close game, then the Bruins had just enough to eke out the victory.

Landon Kreitzer led the Reds with a gutsy 20 points including three 3-pointers. Carsen Visser and JT Jeter each scored 12 points for Cedar.

Easton Albrecht netted 11 for the Reds and Parker Englebright (eight points) and Tate Stubbs (four points) rounded out the scoresheet for the visitors.

The curtain dropped on Cedar’s season after the Reds compiled a 4-20 overall record.

The home team Bruins were paced by a game-high 32 points from Bryce Mella. 

Mountain View earned a second-round tilt on the road at No. 7 Snow Canyon. The Bruins and Warriors tip off at 6 p.m. Friday night in the Jungle. 

Bear River 58, Hurricane 55 (OT)

The home team Bears outscored the visiting Tigers 5-2 in the overtime session to prevail in a nail-biter.

Hurricane trailed 18-14 after one quarter and was behind 29-20 at halftime.

A strong 18-9 third quarter by the visitors tied the game, and the score stayed knotted after a 15-15 fourth quarter led to the extra period.

Seven different Tigers scored at least a point in the setback, led by RJ Hurst, who tossed in three 3-pointers and tallied 19 points.

Cayleb Jackman was next for Hurricane with 10 points and Brigham Kemp contributed nine points in the defeat.

Bear River got a game-high 20 points from Kyver Jensen along with 17 points from Gehrig Marble to survive and move on.

Hurricane finished the season with a 5-19 record. Bear River goes on to a second-round matchup at No. 6 Cottonwood on Friday night.

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