ST. GEORGE – A lot of teams would panic if they lost their two best players in the first three minutes of a game to foul trouble, but not Snow Canyon.
For the Warriors, struggling through adversity is a way of life and Wednesday night SC’s other starters and the Warriors bench led them to a 67-54 victory over Canyon View at The Jungle gymnasium.
“We’ve got the deepest bench in the region,” Snow Canyon coach James Brown said. “Because of the adversity we faced early in the season, these kids are used to stepping up and getting the job done. They weren’t nervous. They just went to work.”
Nate Gottfredson, SC’s talented junior center, was called for a technical foul for a dunk in pre-game and picked up his second personal foul just moments into the game. Meanwhile, Chandler Gines fouled with only 10 seconds off the clock, then picked up his second personal at the 5:05 mark of the first quarter. Brown benhced them both for the remainder of the half, opening the door for guys like Kallan Webster, Jacob Frei and Brendan Truman.
Webster responded with 10 first-half points, including a three-point play that made it 20-9 early in the second quarter. Truman, a former National Elks Hoop Shoot champion, had a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers and Frei hit a couple of driving layups.
“We’ve been battling adversity all year,” Truman said. “A lot of these guys got some valuable experience early in the year when we were without some of our guys.”
But as well as those guys played, Canyon View stayed in the game, trailing just 28-23 at the half. Brady Barrett had nine first-half points and Koy Huxford added seven to keep the Falcons close.
When the third quarter started and Gines and Gottfredfson rejoined the fray, Canyon View had no answer.
“Nate went to work inside, playing big and getting after the rebounds,” Brown said. “Chandler came in and attacked the basket. They really wanted to make up for lost time.”
Gottfredson and Gines combined for 18 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter, sending a 28-23 game into the blowout zone at 47-33. The Falcons would get no closer than nine after that.
“It was a strange game,” Gines said. “You come out all psyched to play and then end up on the bench for the first half. Hopefully we have learned from that.”
Adding to the oddity was a pre-game injury to reserve guard Brandon Benson, who suffered a mild, but bloody cut above the eye after taking an inadvertent elbow during the pre-game introductions in the darkened gym.
Benson returned to play several minutes after getting patched up by the team’s trainer.
The win was a significant one for Snow Canyon. Paired with Desert Hills’ victory over Cedar, the Warriors are now tied for first place in Region 9 at 6-1. Snow Canyon plays at Cedar Feb. 6.
“Desert Hills winning is really a blessing and an opportunity for us,” Brown said. “Now we can take care of our own destiny. We don’t need to rely on anyone else.”
Gottfredson finished with 16 points and nine rebounds and Gines had 11 points and five assists for SC, which improved to 9-5 and 6-1. The Warriors’ next action is next Wednesday at Pine View.
Canyon View, 7-11 and 1-6, got 13 from Barrett and Keaton Kringlen came on late for 10 points.
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