Late-game heroics lift Thunder past Juan Diego, into semifinals

Desert Hills vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

WEST VALLEY CITY – Desert Hills proved once and for all that it knows how to finish a game.

Desert-Hills-smjuan-diego-smThe Thunder, led by Marcus McKone and Quincy Mathews, outscored Juan Diego 12-2 over the game’s final 3:09 to eliminate the Soaring Eagle and punch a ticket for themselves into the state semifinals.

“We have been working hard on us finish games,” Desert Hills coach Wade Turley said. “The big thing is not turning the ball over and playing hard. We did a good job of that today.”

Marcus McKone fires up a 3-point attempt, Desert Hills vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Marcus McKone fires up a 3-point attempt, Desert Hills vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The finish was actually pretty epic for the Thunder and it started when McKone hit a 3-pointer right in front of the Desert Hills bench.

“That was really big for us because it tied the score,” Turley said. “He was standing right in front of me and it looked good from the second he let it go.”

McKone’s trey came with 3:09 to go and made it a 40-40 contest. The two teams traded possessions over the next minute or so before Mathews wriggled free in the post to score with the left hand, making it 42-40 with 1:55 to play.

After an Eagle turnover, Mathews was fouled and made on free throw to put the Thunder ahead 43-40 with 1:35 to go. JD’s Gabe Colosimo cut it to 43-42 with 1:28 left with two free throws, but that would be then end of the scoring for the Soaring Eagle.

Desert Hills made six straight free throws in the game’s final minute and Colosimo, who had 22 points in the game, missed on three different 3-pointer tries. Logan Hokanson, Tanner Leishman and McKone all hit their charity shots.

“Colosimo is a great player,” Turley said. “We just wanted to keep him in front of us and make him shoot jump shots. He likes to get to the basket.”

D-Hills had led by seven in the third quarter, but Colosimo almost singlehandedly brought his team back and it was 34-33 after three.

The Thunder hit half their shots from the floor (14 for 28) and were 5 of 10 from 3-point land. The good shooting helped them overcome 18 turnovers (JD had eight). DH won the rebounding battle 31-19.

Mathews led the team with 22 points and 11 rebounds. McKone had 11 points and 9 boards.

Desert Hills advances to the state semifinals with the win where they’ll play region rival Dixie, which edged Bear River 43-41.

Stats: jddh22615

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Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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