ST. GEORGE — Playing its third game in 40 hours, Desert Hills seemed to be feeling the fatigue factor in its 47-33 loss Friday afternoon to the Salem Hills Skyhawks.
Shooting a miserable 28 percent in the game, including making just 3 of 21 3-pointers, the Thunder never really gave themselves a chance against the Skyhawks. Salem Hills hit on more than 50 percent of its shots (15 of 28) and made the same number of 3-pointers, but attempted 14 fewer than the Thunder in building the lead by outscoring Desert Hills in every quarter of the game.
SH’s 6-foot-5 junior forward, Porter Gustin, had 22 points before fouling out late with the game’s outcome already decided.
The Skyhawks jumped out to an early 14-8 lead behind a couple of nifty shots from guard Blake Agnew. His trey made it a six-point lead with 20 seconds to go in the first quarter. Desert Hills pulled to within three at 14-11 just before the buzzer sounded on a high-arching 3-pointer from the baseline by Sam Messinger.
With the score 20-15, Landen Broadhead hit a trey to cut the Skyhawks lead to two with 2:40 to go in the half, but Salem Hills got four quick points from Ammon Fifita to push the lead to 24-18 at the half.
The third quarter was an unmitigated disaster for the fatigued Thunder, who managed just two baskets, a fast break layup by Quincy Mathews and a rebound basket by Trey Tanner. The Tanner putback made it 27-22 with 5:25 to go in the quarter, but it would by Desert Hills’ last points for the next 6:23 of game time.
Salem Hills closed the quarter on a 5-0 run, making it a double-digit lead at 32-22 heading into the final period. The Thunder’s low point total this season was 40 points, and it would have taken a hot fourth period to get to 40. That just didn’t happen.
Mathews did his best to get DH rolling, scoring seven of his team-high 11 points in the final stanza, but the Skyhawks kept the scoring steady and increased the lead all the way to 15 at 45-30 before settling for the 14-point win.
D-Hills, which also struggled at the line in making just 4 of 10 freebies, drops to 4-5 with the loss. The Thunder finish the Red Rock Rumble Saturday with a 10 a.m. battle against another 4A school, Draper’s Corner Canyon, which lost 77-66 to Snow Canyon Friday night.
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