ST. GEORGE — Cedar’s defense showed once again why it is tops in Region 9, holding Snow Canyon down in a 55-47 region-clinching win Tuesday night at SCHS’s Jungle Gymnasium.
The Warriors had scored at least 50 points in five straight region wins dating back to early January. But Snow Canyon hit just one field goal in the first quarter in falling behind 12-7 to the Lady Reds. Cedar held SC to 1 for 11 shooting in the first period (nine percent) and 7 for 25 total in the entire first half.
“Our main thing was just to try and stop them from shooting 3s,” Cedar guard Courtney Morley said. “They kept catching up to us with all those 3-point shooters. We had to try and make them drive in. We just had to make sure we stopped their 3-pointers and we did.”
With the win, combined with Pine View’s loss to Desert Hills, the Lady Reds have clinched the Region 9 championship and will be the No. 1-seeded team from southern Utah heading into the state playoffs.
With three games left still to play, Cedar’s remarkable 9-0 region record will be an improvement of at least three games from last season’s 6-6 record. But the special season started with an improbable run in the state tournament last season. The fourth-seeded Lady Reds made it all the way to the state semifinals before finally falling to eventual champ Desert Hills.
This season, Cedar didn’t wait until state to get rolling.
“It’s been a long time since we beat Snow Canyon on their home floor,” Cedar coach John Elison said. “So this has been a tough place for us. There’s not been good memories here. We’ve got three losses on the year and two of those are to top five-ranked 4A teams, so I don’t feel bad about those. I try to schedule a preseason that’s going to work us. But defensively, I think we’re right where we want to be.”
Snow Canyon, despite the early shooting woes, rallied in the second half behind the shooting of Madison Mooring and Nikenna Durante. A Mooring trey with 2:25 left in the third quarter cut the Cedar lead down to 33-30. After a Morgan Myers basket, Mooring went inside for two to cut it to 35-32 with 52 seconds left in the third. lady Red Javlyn Weaver scored just before the buzzer to make it 37-32 heading into the fourth.
Cedar pushed the lead back out to nine at 43-34 with four minutes to go, but Snow Canyon’s Durante scored four quick points to cut it to 43-38 with 3:51 left in the game, prompting a time out by Elison.
After the huddle, Cedar went on an 11-3 run to put the game away. The run included an aggressive drive to the rack by Morley with 1:20 that netted two points and a trip to the free throw line.
“I had an open lane and just took it and hoped it went in,” Morley said. “My weakness has been not going tough to the basket and I’ve been working on it a lot this year.”
As the Cedar players packed up and headed to the bus for the ride home, word began to spread of Pine View’s loss, meaning the night was concluding with an outright title for Cedar with still a week and a half left.
“It’s the most amazing feeling in the world,” Morley said. “It’s incredible. I love it.”
She finished the night with a game-high 17 points, while teammate Morgan Myers had 12. As usual, Morley also stuffed the stat sheet with other numbers — 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a blocked shot.
The Warriors were led by Mooring’s 14 points and Durante’s 10. Shaylee Reed had 7 points and 8 boards for SC.
Cedar, 15-3 overall, hosts Dixie Thursday night. Snow Canyon, 9-11 overall and 6-4 in region (tied with Pine View), plays at Desert Hills Thursday night. The Thunder are 5-4 in region.
Stats: Cedar 55, SC 47
Desert Hills 41, Pine View 35
The Lady Thunder never trailed and led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter. But the plucky Panthers rallied to make a game of it.
Down 30-11, Pine View surged late in the third behind Tayvia Ah’Quin and Sarrah Pierce. Using a 12-2 run, PV got within 32-23 at the end of the third, with Natasha Fiame hitting a big bucket in the quarter’s final minute.
Desert Hills couldn’t get a shot to fall early in the fourth quarter and with Pine View dominating the boards, the Panthers were able to pull within 34-32 on a three-point play by Ah’Quin.
Kenzie Done answered with back to back scores to push the lead back out to six at 38-32. With time winding down, Ah’Quin got the Panthers within 39-35, but Ashley Beckstrand iced the victory for Desert Hills with a pair of free throws on the other end, making it 41-35 with just seconds remaining.
Beckstrand and Done finished as top scorers for the victors, with 14 and 12 points, respectively. The both had five rebounds and Beckstrand swiped four steals.
For Pine View, Ah’Quin had 10 points and Pierce finished with 9. The Panthers won the battle on the boards 30-23.
The win complicates things in Region 9, with three teams sporting four losses each. It’s likely that SC, PV and DH will all make the playoffs, but in what order? The Thunder, 11-7 overall and 5-4 in region, have one more game remaining than the other two teams. D-Hills hosts Snow Canyon Thursday and has two games next week.
Pine View, 10-6 and 6-4, has two games left, at Canyon View Thursday and at Cedar in nine days.
Stats: DH 41, PV 35
Hurricane 38, Canyon View 31
It’s been a rough year for the Lady Tigers, but a dominant fourth quarter performance finally got them off the snide.
Trailing 28-22 with seven minutes left in the game, Hurricane took off on a 16-3 run to close out the game. It started with a Taylor Anderson jumper to make it 28-24, followed by a Carrie Marshall 10-footer that cut it to 28-26.
The two teams traded baskets, then thew Lady Falcons added a free throw to push the lead to 31-28 midway through the fourth quarter. Canyon View would not score again.
London Steglich was fouled on a 3-pointer attempt and hit all three free throws to tie the game at 31-31. Steglich then got a steal and converted it into another basket and Hurricane’s first lead since early in the second quarter.
Steglich then hit five free throws in six attempts down the stretch to clinch the Tigers first win of the region season. She finished the game with 16 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. Marshall added eight points for HHS.
Hurricane, 3-16 overall and 1-9 in region, will close out the season with a pair of home games next week — Cedar on Tuesday and Desert Hills on Thursday.
Canyon View, which got 14 points from Abbie Corry, fell to 5-14 and 3-6. The Falcons host Pine View Thursday night.
Stats: Hurricane 38, CV 31
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