ST. GEORGE – Facing its third overtime period in 72 hours, Desert Hills had to reach deep.
After suffering through a double-overtime loss at Cedar on Wednesday night, the Desert Hills Thunder had to come back for a chance to win in overtime against the Tigers. Down three with just over one minute remaining, the Thunder’s Landen Broadhead deflected away a Tiger pass to DH teammate Brycen Williams, who drove to the other end, pulled up at the charity stripe and found Quincy Mathews all alone in the left corner. Without hesitation, Mathews took the shot and drained it.
“I was having a bad night shooting,” said Matthews. “But I knew as soon as it left my hands that that shot was in.”
After controlling the entire game with a stingy defense and a ball-control offense, it seemed Hurricane could not get anything going its way in the overtime period. After Desert Hills got the tip, Jordan Hokanson hit a deep 3-pointer within seconds to put the Thunder up three. Williams forced a Tiger turnover and got a layup at the other end for a quick five-point lead.
Kaden Langston answered with the Tigers only points in the extra period, pulling up for two in the paint. Hokanson would score the next two baskets on difficult contested shots in the lane. After missing shots at the other end, the Tigers had to foul to try and get back into the game. Unlike in regulation, the Thunder nailed the free throws in overtime, two from Mathews and two from Broadhead, for the final tally of 54-43.
During regulation, neither team led by more than five points. There were 14 ties and eight lead changes.
“We escaped with a win tonight,” said Thunder head coach Wade Turley. “Those kids (Hurricane) are very well-coached, play smart basketball and go all out on every play. It was a good win for us.”
The first quarter saw several players on both teams get into the scoring column ending in a Tiger lead by the slimmest of margins, 11-10.
Starting the second period, Williams shot the Thunder in front, scoring two baskets and a free throw. Hurricane answered with some long-distance dialing from Erik Mitchell and Jayce Housley. The period continued with several players contributing and by halftime Desert Hills had closed that slim gap to tie the game at 21-21.
Cody LeBaron and Hokanson paced their respective teams in the third quarter. LeBaron hit from distance and drives while Hokanson was setup by Broadhead and Williams on several backdoor cuts for easy baskets.
“Jordan has really stepped up his play lately,” said Turley. “I think he has gotten his confidence back and he is playing at a much higher level than earlier this year.”
When the eight minutes expired the Tigers were back up by one, 33-32.
The fourth quarter saw a very patient Tiger team eat up clock and find easy baskets in the paint. After an 8-5, run they led 41-37 with 1:30 left to go. Taylor Houston was fouled on a drive to the lane and hit 1 of 2 free throws to pull the Thunder to within three. Shortly after, Mathews was fouled. Despite being in the double-bonus, he was unable to capitalize on either free throw, setting up the steal and 3-point shot to go to overtime.
Hokanson led all scorers with 16, seven coming in overtime. Williams scored 13 and Mathews recorded a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds. For Hurricane, LeBaron scored 13 and Housley finished with 10.
The win moves the Thunder to 10-8 overall, 5-4 in region play. DH is off Wednesday and will host Canyon View on Friday night. Hurricane has lost eight in a row and falls to 5-14, 1-8 in region play. The Tigers will host the Cedar Redmen on Wednesday.
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