Coach Walker Classic: DH defense, PV heartbreak highlight first day

ST. GEORGE — Desert Hills opened the Coach Darin Walker Classic with a stingy defensive effort in a win over Manti and Viewmont gave Hurricane the same treatment late Thursday night at Burns Arena.

In between those two games, Snow Canyon lost a hard-fought game against one of the top teams in the state and Pine View dropped a triple overtime heartbreaker to Springville. Here’s a look at Day 1 of the Walker Classic:

Desert Hills 71, Manti 35

With Marcus McKone hitting from, well, everywhere, and Ty Simister and the rest of the Thunder defense barely allowing the Templars a glance at the hoop, D-Hills rolled to the easy win.

desert-hills-logoIt was close for about three minutes, with the Templars and Thunder tied at 5-5. But DH closed the first quarter on a 13-3 run to grab an 18-8 lead after one. Manti then went cold, hitting a five-minute stretch in the second quarter without a bucket. That enabled the Thunder to stretch the lead to 38-16 at the half and another tough-shooting third quarter helped D-Hills turn the game ugly in the third, with the score ballooning to 38 points.

Desert Hills' Marcus Mckone (12), Desert Hills vs. Manti, Coach Walker Classic Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 17, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Desert Hills’ Marcus Mckone (12), Desert Hills vs. Manti, Coach Walker Classic Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 17, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

By the end of the third, the score sat at 59-21. DH coach Wade Turley has said his team’s goal is to hold teams to 40 points or less — 10 points a quarter — and they far exceeded that through three. McKone said one of the keys was hustle.

“We take a lot of pride in our defense,” he said. “We had goals in this game, holding kids to certain number of points and we really picked it up. Ty (Simister) is one of the best defenders in the state and it helps to have Cody Fitzgerald inside denying shots.”

McKone led all scorers with 24 points. Jayce Jones had 10 points and 3 steals. The Thunder shot 48 percent from the floor while allowing the Templars just 31 percent.

The Thunder are 6-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state in 3A, but will face their toughest test Friday in the Walker Classic, with the Westlake Thunder on the schedule for the 6:30 p.m. game in Burns Arena. Westlake, a 5A school from Region 4, is 6-0  and ranked No. 3 behind Lone Peak and Copper Hills in the 5A ratings.

Stats: dhman121715

Springville 79, Pine View 78 (3OT)

The Panthers were up six in the second overtime with 30 seconds left and at the line. But a missed free throw left it a two-possession game and the Red Devils capitalized, hitting a trey with 20 seconds left and then a spectacular buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Josh Elison to force a third OT.

pine-view-logoIn the third extra frame, the Devils went ahead on a pair of free throws by Matt Sumsion with 2.3 seconds to play. Pine View’s Tyler Johnston had a 30-footer at the buzzer, but it was wide right.

Johnston and Cody Ruesch both had big games for the Panthers, who fell to 7-2 with the loss. Ruesch led his team with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Johnston hit four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points.

Cody Ruesch
Cody Ruesch

Steve Bangerter added 15 and Brandon Yates had 10 for PV, which trailed by six in the first half, but led by three late in the game and had the lead in all three OTs. Bangerter also had nine rebounds and four assists.

Turnovers hurt the Panthers as they gave it away 19 times to just 10 for Springville, though Pine View did win the battle on the boards with a 36-31 edge.

Elison had 24 and Sumsion had 20 to lead the 4A Red Devils, who got their first win of the year and improve to 1-5 overall.

The Panthers will play their fifth game in eight days Friday with a matchup against Viewmont at 8 p.m. in Burns Arena.

Stats: pvspr121715

Viewmont 54, Hurricane 37

A night after scoring 67 points and shooting 57 percent from the floor in a win against Richfield, the well went dry for the Tigers.

hurricane-logoHurricane shot just 24 percent — 12 for 50 — and managed just three field goals after halftime in a miserable second half against the Vikings.

It was actually a great game for the first 16 minutes, with Hurricane leading by as many as four in the first quarter. Viewmont pulled ahead 31-28 by halftime and it looked to be a barnburner after intermission.

Instead, the Tigers couldn’t buy a basket against the Viewmont 2-3 zone. A Josh Parker jumper at about the seven-minute mark of the third would Hurricane’s last basket for more than six minutes of game time.

Hurricane's Nate Ben (15), Hurricane vs. Viewmont, Coach Walker Classic, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 17, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Hurricane’s Nate Ben (15), Hurricane vs. Viewmont, Coach Walker Classic, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 17, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

The Vikings used the Hurricane dry stretch to turn a 33-30 game into a 44-31 blowout, with Cole Huish doing most of the damage on offense. He hit a couple of backdoor layups during the 11-1 run. A 3-pointer by Landon Barker pulled the Tigers within 44-34 at the end of the third, but things actually got worse in the fourth.

Hurricane got a basket by Reagan Hinton with 6:53 to play, then would not hit another the rest of the game. The only other point for HHS in the fourth quarter was a Hinton free throw as the Viewmont defense shut things down.

Barker was the high scorer for the Tigers with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Hinton had eight points and Parker added six for the Tigers, who fell to 3-2 with the defeat.

The Vikings, 4-4, got 25 from Huish and Sean Giovannoni had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Viewmont also owned the glass with a 40-24 rebounding advantage.

The Tigers battle Manti at 5 p.m. at DSU’s Old Gymnasium Friday while Viewmont will face Pine View at 8 p.m. in Burns Arena.

Stats: hurvie121715

Westlake 56, Snow Canyon 44

The Warriors led at halftime, but turnovers and failure to secure defensive rebounds cost them late in the third and early in the fourth quarter.

snow-canyon-logoIt was a good battle of the big men as Justin Loveless had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Snow Canyon and Maizen Fausett had 15 points and 10 boards for Westlake.

But the Thunder also got help from Jared McGregor inside (13 points, 4 rebounds) and used a big rebounding advantage to seize the lead in the third quarter. SC led 26-24 at intermission, but by the end of the third, Westlake held a 43-34 edge.

Brock Staheli
Brock Staheli

Fifteen of the Thunder’s 25 rebounds in the game were on the offensive end, leading to 11 second-chance points.

Still, the loss by the Warriors was a moral victory as the 1-5 SC team stayed with a 6-0 Westlake squad that is ranked No. 3 in the 5A ratings.

Hunter Hammer chipped in eight points and three assists and Brock Staheli had six points, four boards and three dimes for the Warriors, who take Friday off, then host Manti at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at The Jungle Gymnasium.

Stats: scwes121715


Twitter: @oldschoolag

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