Girls basketball roundup: D-Hills rally falls short vs. 5A Vikings

Desert Hills vs. Pleasant Grove, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Rough starts in many of the Region 9 girls basketball games Saturday meant big rallies were necessary. Some worked, some did not.

Here’s a rundown of the day’s action.

Pleasant Grove 63, Desert Hills 57

The Desert Hills Thunder could not overcome a huge run by Pleasant Grove late in the first half. Despite a spirited comeback in the Thunderdome, D-Hills came up short 63-57 after trailing by as many as 24 points early in the second half.

desert-hills-logo“Sometimes we let our offense dictate how we play as a team,” said Thunder head coach Ron Denos. “If we take our cues from how we play defensively, I think we would play better. Today we missed some shots and we let that affect us.”

Pleasant Grove had the height advantage and continually went to their tall center, 6-foot-5 Malli Valgardson. Valgardson was able to get good position and poured in 19 first-half points.

Desert Hills' Rylee Jensen (3), Desert Hills vs. Pleasant Grove, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Desert Hills’ Rylee Jensen (3), Desert Hills vs. Pleasant Grove, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

The Thunder stayed close with the Lady Vikings initially. An Elly Williams jumper in the lane gave Desert Hills a 10-9 advantage with 3:35 remaining in the first. PGHS closed out the period with a 10-2 run.

Two baskets by Williams and Jessica Mathis pulled the Thunder to within four with just over five minutes remaining in the half. The Vikings then scored 14 consecutive points to close out the half. Ten of those points came from Valgardson. The Vikings center also blocked or disrupted many Thunder shots during the run. At halftime the score was 35-17 in favor of the Vikings.

Coach Denos made some adjustments at the break.

“We spread the floor in the second half,” said Thunder guard Ashley Beckstrand. “And defensively, we communicated more and gave help to our bigs when the ball went into the post.”

The strategy worked, to a point. Thunder post Taylor Salisbury neutralized Valgardson in the second half. Valgardson only scored eight points after intermission. Four of those came off put backs.

“I just tried to keep her off the blocks and out of the paint,” said Salisbury. “And when she did get the ball, (I tried) to get my hands up and make her shots difficult.”

After PG’s initial basket of the second half gave them a 20-point lead, 37-17, the Thunder offense picked up, even though a few Desert Hills starters had to sit on the pine with foul trouble. Pleasant Grove had its biggest lead of the game after point guard Emilee Anderson’s layup gave the Vikings a 48-24 advantage with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter. The Thunder slowly chipped away at the lead. Four Beckstrand free throws got the lead back down to 53-34 at the end of the third quarter.

Heavy defensive pressure in the half court began to turn the tide for the Thunder in the final stanza. Thunder reserve guard Mathis hit two 3s in the fourth, the second one pulling the Thunder to within 59-46 with 3:20 remaining. When Denos reinserted post Elly Williams with three minutes remaining, it paid immediate dividends. Williams scored two quick baskets to pull DH within 63-51 with 1:26 remaining.

Desert Hills' Ellyn Williams (12), Desert Hills vs. Pleasant Grove, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Desert Hills’ Elly Williams (12), Desert Hills vs. Pleasant Grove, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

After a Pleasant Grove timeout, the Thunder pressure created three quick baskets by Beckstrand, the last off a steal and dish from Madison Clark. The Vikings called their last timeout with 22 seconds left, only up by six, 63-57. The Thunder would not possess the ball again, however, as a missed Viking free throw was rebounded by Pleasant Grove and the Vikes ran out the clock.

Pleasant Grove improves to 3-0 while the Thunder fall to 1-2. Valgardson led all scorers with 27 points. Anderson chipped in 12. For Desert Hills, Beckstrand scored 23 points. Elly Williams scored 14 and Mathis pumped in eight off the bench.

The Thunder will travel to Las Vegas next weekend. They will play Valley High School on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time. On Saturday, they will play Coronado High School at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

Hurricane 53, Manti 39

The Lady Tigers got their first win of the season with a road victory over Manti.

hurricane-logoThe Tigers took a 12-8 first-quarter lead and never looked back. They increased the margin to 25-16 at halftime. In the final stanza, they outscored MHS 22-17.

Taylor Anderson led the team with 18 points. Morgan Huntsman had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Carrie Marshall also had double digit rebounds with 10.

Manti falls to 1-3 on the year. The win moves Hurricane to 1-2. The Lady Tigers will host Canyon View on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

Snow Canyon 39, Granger 34

The Lady Warriors outlasted Granger in a low-scoring game.

snow-canyon-logoAfter facing a five-point deficit after the first quarter, Snow Canyon’s defense allowed only two points in the second. The Warriors went into halftime up 16-13. The two teams played even in the third quarter with both putting up 16 points. The Warriors were again on the positive end of a low scoring quarter, 7-5, in the fourth.

Individually, Lizzy Peterson led Granger with 14 points. For Snow Canyon, Madison Mooring had 16 points, three assists and four steals. Lindsy McConnell had eight points and nine rebounds.

Granger drops to 2-3. Snow Canyon stays undefeated at 3-0. The Warriors will travel to Mesquite, Nev., on Tuesday to play Virgin Valley. Game time is set for 7 p.m. Pacific Time.

Springville 60, Cedar 52

The Lady Reds came back from an 11-point deficit at halftime to make a game of it.

cedar-logoCedar doubled up Springville 18-9 in the third to pull within two, 40-38. But the Red Devils had another offensive burst in the final stanza to pull away. Lydia Austin led three players in double-figures with 23. Savannah Sumsion and Mary Fredrickson scored 13 and 11, respectively, for the Red Devils.

For Cedar, Courtney Morley had 23 points and three assists. Carly Davis and Jessica Whetmen scored nine and eight points, respectively. Dream Weaver scored six points and led the team with five rebounds.

Springville stays undefeated at 4-0 while Cedar drops to 1-2. The Lady Reds will travel to Enterprise on Tuesday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Canyon View 58, Dixie 44

The Dixie Flyers could not find their first victory on the road.

dixie-logoAfter Canyon View surged ahead in the second quarter, the Lady Flyers made a comeback and came within five points. But poor shooting throughout the game and especially at the end prevented them from closing the gap.

The Lady Falcons outscored Dixie by 12 in the second to take a 31-16 halftime lead. Dixie won the second half.

“The girls are improving with each game,” said Dixie head coach Jaime Araiza. “We took good shots, got open looks, but they just did not fall.”

Individually, Taylor Whitson nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Grace Killian poured in eight points. Dantzel Miner came in off the bench late and got some crucial steals in the Dixie second-half run.

Abbie Corry led CV with 25 points as Canyon View improved to 1-3. The Flyers fall to 0-2. They will play Green Valley High School (Nev.) in the Ken Robinson Classic. Game time is set for 5 p.m. Friday.


Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.



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