Hurricane nabs No. 3 seed; Flyers celebrate perfect region slate

Hurricane vs. Snow Canyon, Boys Basketball, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 16, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – There was the potential for some crazy ties and perhaps even a play-in game, but in the end, the last day of the regular season for Region 9 boys basketball went pretty much according to script.

Dixie blew out last-place Cedar, finishing off a perfect 12-0 region campaign. Second-place Desert Hills was good, too, dominating Canyon View in Cedar City. And Hurricane, made sure its No. 3 standing was safe by winning at home against Snow Canyon.

With the results, the top seeds in the region end up as Dixie No. 1, D-Hills No. 2, Hurricane No. 3 and Canyon View No. 4. The Flyers will host the fourth seed from Region 12, Bear River, next week in the first round of the playoffs. The Thunder will host third-seeded Green Canyon. The coaches of both host teams are hoping to play the games on Friday night, pending approval from the opposing coaches and the UHSAA.

The Tigers will travel to Logan and take on the Grizzlies, who finished second in Region 12. And Canyon View will try and shirk off its four-game losing streak in a road trip to No. 1-seeded Sky View next weekend.

“It’s a whole new season and the teams that play defense and take care of the ball will be the ones there at the end,” Hurricane coach Todd Langston said. “You’ve got to do that for the next four games, and whoever does that will be the champion.”

All three winners scored in the 60s on a high-scoring Friday night. Here’s a recap:

Hurricane 69, Snow Canyon 64

Three seniors, Britton Esplin, Jackson Last and Reagan Marshall, opened the game with three baskets and the Tigers never trailed in a game the Warriors had to have to get a chance at the playoffs.

On Senior Night at Hurricane, Esplin opened the contest with a 3-pointer, then Last hit a mid-range jumper and Marshall followed with a jump shot just inside the 3-point arc. Just two minutes into the game, Hurricane had a 7-0 lead and, while the game would have plenty of drama the rest of the way, Snow Canyon never could quite catch the Tigers.

Snow Canyon’s Braden Baker (3), Hurricane vs. Snow Canyon, Boys Basketball, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 16, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

“It was exactly that kind of game, where we would get out to a big lead and then they would make a run,” Langston said. “We played really loose and didn’t feel any pressure of having to win since we already had a playoff spot clinched. I think that’s one of the reasons we shot the ball so well tonight.”

The Tigers really were sharp in their finale on their home court. Hurricane hit 21 of 38 field goals (55 percent), 6 of 12 3-pointers and 21 of 28 free throws (75 percent). The hot shooting helped them withstand every run Snow Canyon made.

Cole Warner had six points and Braden Baker added four in the first quarter as the Warriors closed to within 14-12 with 1:29 to go in the first. But Hurricane closed the period on a 5-0 run on a trey by Last and a pair of free throws by the senior guard to take a 19-12 advantage after one.

The Tigers got it to double figures at 27-17 late in the second quarter, but Snow Canyon had it to 31-24 at intermission.

“We talked at halftime about being aggressive on defense and more efficient on offense,” Langston said. “Our seniors did a really nice job on their night. And our younger players, especially sophomores TJ Minor and Brice Thomas, made some big shots as well.”

The Warriors got within four early in the third quarter after a fast-break basket by Warner and a pair of free throws and it was still tight at 38-33 with 3:45 to go in the third. But Hurricane went on an 8-0 run to push the advantage out to 46-33 with 2:11 left in the third.

Hurricane’s Reagan Marshall (15), Hurricane vs. Snow Canyon, Boys Basketball, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 16, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

Snow Canyon got within six early in the fourth quarter, but Hurricane junior guard Matthew Meyers came off the bench to score all 11 of his points in the final frame to stave off any Warrior comeback attempts. A Bryson Childs trey at the buzzer got SC as close as it would get the entire final quarter.

“We really didn’t feel any pressure tonight and the seniors did what they do,” Langston said. “It makes a big difference to have our young guys step up, too. Matt (Meyers) was big for us in the fourth quarter.”

The Tigers end up with a 7-5 region record (13-9 overall) and will be the three-seed from Region 9. Hurricane will face Logan in the 4A first round, likely on Saturday night. The Grizzlies also have a 13-9 record and placed second in Region 12. Logan is 1-1 against Region 9 teams, having beaten Pine View and lost to Dixie.

Snow Canyon, which got 25 points from Baker and 11 from Warner, could have earned a play-in game with Canyon View and a tie for fourth place had it been able to win this game. But the Warriors instead end up 4-8 in region and tied for fifth with Pine View. SC finishes the year with an 8-14 record overall.

Desert Hills 64, Canyon View 58

The first time these two teams met, Desert Hills blew a 12-point lead in the second half by getting outscored 24-9 in the fourth quarter. This time, the Thunder held a similar 12-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

“We just decided that we weren’t going to let it slip like we did the last time,” said Desert Hills point guard Trey Allred. “We felt like we were the better team and didn’t want that to happen again. They ruined things for us a little bit this season, so we had a fire going. We had a different game plan this time and it worked out well for us.”

File photo, Desert Hills’ Tucker Peterson (31), Dixie vs. Desert Hills, Boys Basketball, St. George, UT. Jan. 19, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

In the first meeting, Tucker Peterson was a non-factor for Desert Hills in the fourth quarter. That didn’t happen this time as Peterson had 13 fourth-quarter points and made 7 of 9 free throws in the final period to help DH hold on for the win.

“I definitely think (the previous loss) was a part of our motivation tonight,” Thunder coach Wade Turley said. “More important for me, as the coach, was getting back on that winning track and getting some momentum heading into the first round of the playoffs. But the guys definitely used that last loss to Canyon View as fuel and motivation.”

The game was close early, with Brantzen Blackner and Toby Potter buckets helping the Falcons take a brief lead midway through the second quarter. But Desert Hills countered with tough baskets by Peterson and Tyler Webber, plus a nifty lefty catch and lay-in on a long pass to Allred, to take a 25-21 lead into halftime.

Peterson hit a couple of jump shots and Allred hit his second trey of the game in the third quarter as the Thunder pushed the lead out to double figures at 31-21 and 40-30 by the end of the third.

In the fourth quarter, Webber hit his third trey of the game and Peterson was dominant inside as the lead grew to 14. But the Falcons started to make a comeback and got to within five. Joey Lambeth hit three treys in the fourth to help the Falcons rally. But with all the energy exerted in trying to rally, Canyon View gave up a pair of layups on fast breaks and was forced to foul to try and stop the clock.

Desert Hills made 11 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

“I challenged my team at the quarter and told them it was the same scenario as it was down at our place,” Turley said. “I thought we started the fourth quarter a lot stronger. Down the stretch we didn’t make smart decisions, but we were able to finish with free throws down the stretch. I was really proud of the effort tonight.”

Peterson finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, 13 of those points coming in the final period. The Thunder dominated the glass, outrebounding the Falcons 31-16.

Webber and Allred finished with 12 points each as Desert Hills made 24 of 46 shots in the game (52 percent), including 5 of 11 on 3-pointers (45 percent).

The Thunder, 16-5 overall and 9-3 in region, will host a playoff game (likely Friday night) against Green Canyon.

Canyon View (10-14 overall and 5-7 in region) got 25 points from Blackner before he fouled out in the final minute. Lambeth added 14 and Toby Potter had seven. The Falcons make the playoffs despite the loss, thanks in part to Hurricane’s win over Snow Canyon. As a fourth seed, CV will travel to Sky View next week to take on the Region 12 champion Bobcats.

Dixie 61, Cedar 46

In a bit of irony, Dixie coach Ryan Cuff started five seniors who hadn’t started all year and they led the team to a fine 15-7 first-quarter edge. Then he inserted his usual starters and they proceeded to get outscored 23-15 in the second quarter to make it a 30-30 halftime contest.

“We have 10 seniors and they’ve all been a big part of our success this year,” Cuff said. “It was a bit of a surprise that those guys let Cedar back in it in the second quarter. But they settled in and got back to where they needed in the third quarter.”

File photo, Dixie’s Carson Bottema (2), Dixie vs. Pine View, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Jan. 31, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

Dixie outscored last-place Cedar 16-6 in the third, forcing six turnovers and hitting deep treys with Tanner Cuff and Carson Bottema. The Flyers also dominated the fourth quarter and ended up outscoring the young Redmen 31-16 in the second half.

“The best thing about this team is that they’re not satisfied,” Coach Cuff said. “They know we have things to improve on and they are working toward our ultimate goal.”

Dixie did a lot of things right in this Senior Night game, outrebounding the Redmen 18-15 and committing fewer turnovers (18-12). The Flyers also shot the ball well, making 18 of 37 shots (49 percent). Dixie also made 20 of 26 free throws (77 percent), after making just 12 of 25 two days ago.

Bottema led the Flyers in scoring with 11 points and Tanner Cuff had 10, but it was a balanced night for Dixie with 11 different players scoring and seven of those chipping in at least four points. Payton Wilgar and Akili Prince had eight each.

For Cedar, freshman Dallin Grant had 17 points and the team’s lone senior starter, Ethan Boettcher, had 11. The Redmen end the eyar with an 8-15 record, going just 1-11 in Region 9.

Dixie, 20-3 and 12-0, will host Bear River next week. Coach Cuff said he hopes to have the game Friday night, pending approval by the Bears administration and the UHSAA.

Friday’s results
Hurricane 69, Snow Canyon 64
Desert Hills 64, Canyon View 58
Dixie 61, Cedar 46

2017-18 Region 9 Final Standings
Dixie  12-0, 20-3
Desert Hills  9-3, 16-6
Hurricane  7-5, 13-9
Canyon View  5-7, 10-14
Pine View  4-8, 8-13
Snow Canyon  4-8, 8-14
Cedar  1-11, 8-15

Next week’s 4A first round games (times/dates tba)
Upper bracket
Region 10 No. 3 Payson* at Region 
11 No. 2 Tooele
Region 9 No. 4 
Canyon View at Region 12 No. 1 Sky View
Region 12 No. 
4 Bear River at Region 9 No. 1 Dixie
Region 11 No. 3
 Stansbury at Region 10 No. 2 Salem Hills*

Lower bracket
Region 12 No. 3 Green Canyon at Region 9 No. 2 Desert Hills
Region 11 No. 4 Bonneville at Region 10 No. 1 Orem*
10 No. 4 Lehi* at Region 11 No. 1 Juan Diego
Region 9 No. 3 Hurricane at Region 12 No. 2 Logan

* Region 10 has one more set of games this coming Tuesday, so its seedings are not yet set


Twitter: @oldschoolag

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