ST. GEORGE — There’s no doubt that Region 9 has taken some lumps this first two days at the Red Rock Rumble at Dixie State’s Burns Arena. But the southern Utah players and coaches have learned a lot to and that should pay dividends down the road.
“This is the second toughest preseason we’ve ever played,” said Snow Canyon coach James Brown, whose team beat Salem Hills 60-44 Friday night. “We’ve been fortunate that this schedule has exposed some of our weaknesses. It gives a better idea of who we are and at we need to work on.”
The Warriors, who lost to Payson 60-56 Thursday night, made great strides in just less than 24 hours. Against the Skyhawks, Snow Canyon looked crisp and focused. It all started with a trio of high-arching 3-pointers late in the first quarter.
Trailing 7-6, the Warriors hit the trifecta on open shots from Jake Frei, then two in a row by Spencer Call. The nine-point flurry closed out the first quarter and put SC ahead 15-7, but the run wasn’t over. Opening the second period with a wicked man defense, the Warriors scored eight more unanswered points with Chandler Gines and Nate Gottfredson dominating the paint. When the proverbial dust had cleared, Snow Canyon had pushed out to a 23-7 lead and would never be headed the rest of the game.
“It feels good to be out there contributing,” said Gines, who is coming of reconstructive knee surgery after a summer injury. “When it first happened, I thought I was done and would miss my senior year of basketball. I was really upset because it is my one true love.”
Brown acknowledged the work of Gines and also said he looks forward to the return of Gabe Jensen (knee) and Kallan Webster (surgery), both of whom should be back by the time region play resumes in January.
“Chandler gives us a real physical presence in there,” Brown said. “He’s a fierce rebounder and a tough competitor.”
Gines finished with 12 points and the big guy in the middle, Gottfredson, owned the paint. He had 17 points and a handful of offensive rebounds.
“When we get him the ball, everyone on defense is looking at him, which open things up for our other guys and everyone benefits,” Brown said. “When we don’t get him the ball, well it doesn’t work out too well for us.”
The Warriors, 3-4, close out their Red Rock Rumble experience with a late night (8:30 p.m.) match-up with Northridge at Burns Arena.
Viewmont 57, Desert Hills 51
The Thunder played the 5A Vikings even up most of the game and trailed by a 52-51 margin with a minute left in the game.
Playing inside-out, Viewmont big man Michael Steinicke found teammate Mckay Butler for an open 3-pointer with 48 seconds to play. Butler buried the good look and the Vikings buried a couple of late free throws to defeat the Thunder.
“We let them push us around early in the game, but I’m happy with the way our guys came back and stood their ground,” Desert Hills coach Wade Turley said. “They hit some big shots on us, but I’m pleased with the way we competed.”
The Thunder are playing without leading scorer Ty Rutledge, who will be out for another three to four weeks with torn ankle ligaments. But other players have filled in nicely for DH, which fell to 7-4. Taylor Houston had 14 points and a pair of steals for the Thunder.
“The big thing with Ty out is he was a good scorer, so we all needed to pick up our game on offense,” Houston said. “This game was good for us even though we lost. Last night we didn’t play very well, but we still won. Tonight we played better.”
Butler led all scorers with 16 points. Josh Anderson had 11 and sophomore Quincy Matthews had eight for DH. Jordan Hokanson had an off night with just five points on 2 of 9 shooting.
Pine View 65, Manti 55
The Panthers turned a close game into a runaway with a 9-0 run early in the fourth quarter. Pine View ended up out-scoring the Templars 15-5 in the final stanza after battling to a 50-50 tie through three quarters.
Dallin Milne had 18 points and made 10 of 11 free throws. Kody Wilstead recorded yet another double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds to go with his 13 points. Jack Bangerter had 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers.
The Panthers, 7-2, finish their Red Rock Rumble experience with a Saturday game against Viewmont, beginning at 6:45 p.m.
American Fork 60, Dixie 47
The Flyers drop to 3-7 with the loss to 5A American Fork. Dixie plays Maple Mountain at 3:15 Saturday at DSC.
Maple Mountain 47, Hurricane 40
The defending champs are suffering through a tough preseason. The Tigers are now 1-7 after dropping a close one to the Golden Eagles. Hurricane plays Timpview at 1:30 p.m. at Dixie State Saturday.
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