COMMENTARY – This is the official (not really) playoff barometer column for Region 9 basketball as we take a look at each team and what they have to do with just a couple of games remaining in the regular season schedule.
We’ll start with the boys side, which has Snow Canyon out in front, but with the some critical games this week for the Warriors, plus a two-team race for the fourth playoff spot.
Snow Canyon (8-1 in region, first place, remaining games (3): Wed. at Cedar; Friday vs. Desert Hills; Feb. 12 at Dixie) – The Warriors have a one-game lead on Cedar and a 1.5-game lead on Desert Hills, but definitely have the toughest schedule in this closing stretch of games. The biggest one is Wednesday at Cedar. If Snow Canyon can pull that one off, they will have clinched at least a tie for the region title. Key players down the stretch: Chandler Gines and Nate Gottfredson will have their usual impact, but it’s the shooters, Kallan Webster and Brendan Truman, that are key if SC is going to get the region title. Factoid: The last time SC won the state championship, 2002, the Warriors finished third in region.
Cedar (7-2 in region, second place, remaining games (3): Wed. vs. Snow Canyon; Friday at Hurricane; Feb. 12 at Pine View) – The Redmen were riding high before inexplicably losing two straight home games. They’ll beat Hurricane and who knows what the mindset will be at Pine View next week (playing for the playoffs or already eliminated). However, Cedar can still claim a top seed by winning out. Key player down the stretch: Dason Coronado was shooting lights-out during Cedar’s long win streak, but has disappeared as of late. They need his deadeye. Factoid: Cedar’s last state championship was in 1995 under the late, great Steve Hodson.
Desert Hills (7-3 in region, third place, remaining games (2): Friday at Snow Canyon; Feb. 12 vs. Canyon View) – That loss at Pine View pretty much killed the Thunder’s shot at being region champ. However, DH could get that second seed with a win at Snow Canyon and that would mean a home playoff game against Wasatch, Union or Park City. I think Desert Hills is dangerous enough to be playing deep into the tournament. Key player down the stretch: Sophomore center Trey Tanner has earned more playing time in recent games and they need the 6-foot-6 post to produce. Factoid: The Thunder have won 21 games each of the last two seasons, but would only have 20 wins if they win the rest of their games, including the state championship, this year.
Dixie (5-5 in region, fourth place, remaining games (2): Wednesday vs. Pine View; Feb. 12 vs. Snow Canyon) – The Flyers control their own destiny. A win against PV Wednesday clinches a playoff spot. A loss would put them a half-game behind the Panthers and Dixie has first-place Snow Canyon, too, so Wednesday’s game is pretty much make or break for Dixie. Key player down the stretch: Dixie does a lot of things well, but shooting from outside isn’t one of them. Jordan Hall is the only real deep threat and they need him to hit. Factoid: Remember Dixie’s last basketball state championship? Not too many people do as it was in 1970 with Coach Don Lay.
Pine View (4-5 in region, fifth place, remaining games (3): Wednesday at Dixie; Friday vs. Canyon View; Feb. 12 vs. Cedar) – That was a clutch win against Desert Hills Friday, making it possible for PV, like Dixie, to determine its own fate. A win at Dixie puts the Panthers in fourth place with the two Cedar schools left on the schedule. Key players down the stretch: Again, outside shooting will be key, so Jack Bangerter and Chaz Peterson have to produce for the Panthers to succeed. Factoid: The Panthers won state in 2001 (John Wardenburg) and in 2007 (Steve Melessa), but both times their coach left the next season.
Canyon View (2-7 in region, sixth place, remaining games (3): Wednesday vs. Hurricane; Friday at Pine View; Feb. 12 at Desert Hills) – I’m sure Rob Potter and his boys hate playing spoiler and would rather be fighting for a playoff spot. Technically, the Falcons could still tie for fourth place, but the odds are long. Instead, they have a real chance to impact PV and DH and whether or not those two teams will factor in the postseason. Key player down the stretch: Potter has said the Falcons are going to live and die by the 3-pointer and Chad Corry is one of the best deep threats in the region. Factoid: CV’s only state championship was in 1999 under the leadership of legendary Steve Hodson.
Hurricane (0-10 in region, seventh place, remaining games (2): Wednesday at Canyon View; Friday vs. Cedar) – Hate to kick a dog when its down, but it’s hard to believe this is the same program that won the state championship last year. Factoid: The Tigers actually tied for second in region last year before marching through the state tournament undefeated.
If the playoffs started today, the first-round match-ups would be: Park City at Snow Canyon, Union at Cedar, Desert Hills at Wasatch and Dixie at Judge Memorial.
Desert Hills (8-2; tied for first; Remaining games (2): Tuesday vs. Hurricane; Feb. 13 vs. Pine View) – With two relatively easy home games left, the Thunder will likely at least tie for the top seed and perhaps win it outright.
Cedar (8-2; tied for first; Remaining games : Thursday at Pine View; Feb. 13 vs. Snow Canyon) – The PV game is a gimme, making next week’s Snow Canyon game a doozy. The winner could tie for first and will likely at least get a home playoff game. The loser will have to hit the road.
Snow Canyon (7-2, third place; Remaining games (3): Tuesday at Dixie; Thursday vs. Hurricane; Feb. 13 at Cedar) – The Lady Warriors are actually tied with Cedar and DH in the loss column. Again, it will come down to that Feb. 13 game at Cedar, though SC does have a tough road game Tuesday against Dixie.
Dixie (6-4, fourth place; Remaining games (2): Tuesday vs. Snow Canyon, Thursday vs. Canyon View) – The Lady Flyers are in the playoffs, but stand little chance of improving their fourth-place seeding, which means they can already plan a playoff road trip to Juan Diego.
Hurricane (2-7), Canyon View (2-7) and Pine View (0-9) are all already eliminated from the playoffs.
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