CEDAR CITY – If Cedar had won Wednesday night, this would be a story about never giving up and about prayers being answered. Instead, this is a story about enduring to the end and holding on for dear life.
Snow Canyon survived a ferocious Cedar comeback and came away with a Region 9-clinching 67-65 overtime win over the Redmen.
“This was almost a mirror-image of the game we lost to them a few weeks ago,” Warriors coach James Brown said. “They got up early, we went on a big run. Then they hit some big shots and made a comeback. The difference is we were able to keep our composure and get the win this time.”
Chandler Gines and Kallan Webster helped Snow Canyon overcome a 15-10 first-quarter deficit by pushing the Warriors into a 23-0 run, spanning the middle part of the game.
“Chandler did a good job of being consistent for us all night,” Brown said. “Kallan hit some huge 3s for us in the first half and started the third quarter with a big 3 as well.”
Nate Gottfredson also played well in helping Snow Canyon to a 12-point lead early in the fourth quarter. But then things started to disintegrate.
“We actually did everything right to keep the lead except the free throws,” Brown said. “We were 1 for 7 in the fourth quarter. If you want to win a championship, you’ve got to put teams away at the free throw line.”
Kordan Nielson and Dason Coronado hit big 3-pointers down the stretch for Cedar to shrink the lead. But despite blowing the big lead SC came out in overtime and never trailed, pushing the lead to four several times. A bucket by Gines made it 64-60 with 45 seconds to play. After a Cedar basket, and with 18 seconds left in OT, Jake Frei hit a pair of critical free throws to push the lead to 66-62. A 3-pointer by Cedar made it 66-65 with three seconds left. Brendan Truman hit one of two freebies and a desperation shot by Cedar was no good.
Gines finished with 26 points, using his quickness to beat out the taller Cedar front line.
“When our offense was stalling out, we ran ‘Texas’ to him – basically high post – and he did a good job of finishing,” Brown said. “Another nice thing is Gabe Jensen hit two 3s for us and is starting to play like he did before his injury. We’re finally getting the team we had planned on having on the floor.”
Webster made four of his five 3-point attempts and Gottfredson was a one-man wrecking crew inside, scoring 14 points, snaring 17 rebounds and blocking three shots. He was only called for two fouls in the game as well.
The Warriors, 12-5 overall and 9-1 in region, now have a two-game lead on Cedar and Desert Hills with two games left. SC plays the Thunder at home Friday night.
Cedar, which was led by Dustin Staggs’ 17 points, finishes with games at Hurricane and at Pine View. The Redmen, 13-6 and 7-3, also got 14 from Ryan Armstrong and 13 from Mike Hourigan.
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