ST. GEORGE — Oh the drama. The returning champs hosting a home game with a chance to pull into a tie for first place. The new kids on the block coming off of a shocking upset. That was just one story line Friday night as Dixie invaded Pine View and came out with an impressive road win. Desert Hills, coming off its own stunning loss, put a quality game together in a win at Hurricane. And the young Cedar Redmen won their third straight, two of those on the road.
It was another fun night in Region 9. Here’s a closer look at Friday night’s action on the hardcourts:
Dixie 57, Pine View 45
A slow start may have been deadly to the Flyers at The Pit, but there was no problem there as Dixie scored 17 in the first quarter and 18 more in the second to surge to a big 35-17 halftime lead. The Panthers answered with a big third quarter, but the hole was too big to climb out of and Dixie rolled to its fifth region win in six tries.
“I think what happened on Wednesday (loss to Cedar) was a real wake-up call,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “The guys came out tonight ready to play. We had one of the best practices in a long time yesterday and then we just came out and executed in the half court and attacked the basket.”
Dixie tried to spread the court on offense and then use the penetration of Tyler Bennett to create opportunities. The ploy worked, with Bennett scoring or assisting on most of the baskets before halftime. Even when he missed, Dixie center Richard Guymon was there to clean it up.
“Richard played outstanding tonight,” Cuff said. “He had three or four tip-ins late in the first half that really helped us grab the momentum.”
The Panthers showed a lot of fight in the second half. Pine View trimmed the Dixie lead by 10 in the third quarter with Kade Moore leading the way.
“He hit some big shots,” Cuff said. “I give them a lot of credit. They came out with a lot of energy in the third quarter and held us down. We only scored 6 points in the third quarter. We were able to get to the foul line in the fourth quarter to kind of change the momentum a little back our way.”
Dixie had a big first-half lead against Cedar Wednesday, but let that one slip away. This time, the Flyers would weather the storm behind the foul shooting of Malachi Otis, James Eardley and Nate Crockett, among others.
Dixie was lights out from the floor, hitting 5 of 9 3-pointers (55 percent) and 20 of 35 field goals overall (57 percent). The Flyers were 12 of 19 from the free throw line (63 percent).
Pine View, which was led by Moore’s 16 points, was 19 for 45 from the floor (42 percent), but made just 4 of 16 3-pointers (25 percent).
Dixie still sits atop the region with a 5-1 record (15-4 overall). The Flyers can all but clinch the region title with a win next Wednesday at home against Desert Hills. Dixie plays three of its final four games in the friendly atmosphere of The Hangar.
The Panthers, 3-3 in region and 10-7 overall, will visit Cedar Wednesday and then close out region with three straight home games.
Cedar 67, Snow Canyon 60
Look who the hottest team in the region is — none other than the Cedar Redmen. Cedar started region play 0-3, but has since won three straight and two of those in hostile territory.
“After the way we played early in the year, we’ll take three in a row,” Cedar coach Craig Cardon said. “All three of these games we would have lost the first of December. These guys have figured out how to win games. I’m going to say it, and I apologize for saying it, but we’ve got one senior and we’re just inexperienced. We’re still learning how to win.”
Late in the third quarter, the Redmen had extended the lead out to a 51-41 advantage behind the sharp-shooting of Keenan Nielson. Snow Canyon had led 38-37 before a 14-3 run gave CHS that double-digit lead.
But the Warriors chipped away in the fourth and had it down 61-59 with two minutes to play after consecutive baskets by Justin Loveless.
Loveless, SC’s 6-foot-7 center, had a chance to give his team the lead with just over a minute to play. Loveless, who made three 3-pointers in the game, had his trey partially blocked. Moments later, Warrior TJ Taimi had a good look at a corner 3, but it rimmed out with 45 seconds left and SC was forced to foul.
Cedar made six straight free throws in the final moments to push the lead out and walk away with the road win.
Nielson, a junior guard who averages better than 16 points a game, was spectacular. He had 34 points and made 11 of 12 free throws in the contest. He also hit a couple of 3-pointers in the third quarter and had four rebounds and four assists.
“He sets the tone for us,” Cardon said. “He came out and shot the ball really well early. He handles the ball really well and even if you double- or triple-team him, he’s still hard to guard. He also has the ability to find a teammate for an open shot. He does a lot of good things for us.”
It was a good shooting night all-around for Cedar, which made 22-41 field goals (54 percent), 5 of 10 3-pointers (50 percent) and 18-25 free throws (72 percent). Parker Haynie had 12 points and made all four of his free throws.
Cedar, now 8-8 overall and 3-3 in region play, has a home game against Pine View Wednesday. The Redmen still have road trips to league-leaders Desert Hills and Dixie remaining on the schedule.
Loveless was excellent for SC, finishing with 26 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Kobe Tupu had four 3-pointers and added 16 points for the Warriors. Snow Canyon, 6-10 and 2-4 in region, drops a game behind Cedar and Pine View and into fifth place. The Warriors visit Hurricane Wednesday and then go to Pine View Friday.
Stats: Cedar 67, Snow Canyon 60
Desert Hills 68, Hurricane 51
Like Dixie, the Thunder were coming off a surprising upset loss and, like the Flyers, Desert Hills came out focused and fired up.
Just under five minutes into the game, the Thunder had already turned it into a rout. Marcus McKone hit two 3-pointers and 10 total points in an 18-2 rush to open the contest by Desert Hills.
But the Thunder responded with an 11-3 run to close out the half and take a 32-23 lead into the locker room.
The Tigers pulled to within 40-33 with two minutes left in the third, but a Logan Hokanson trey sparked a 7-2 run to end the third and push the lead back out to 12 at 47-35. Hurricane never got closer than 8 the rest of the way.
The guard line was sharp for D-Hills. McKone had 17 points and made three 3-pointers, while Hokanson had 14 points and Tanner Turley chipped in 12.
The Thunder hit 57 percent of their shots in the game, nailing 23 of 40 field goals. DH also kept the lead with sharp shooting from the charity stripe. The Thunder were 17-20 from the line, good enough for 85 percent.
Hinton had 16 points to lead Hurricane, with Parker and Ballard contributing 14 each. The Tigers were 21-48 from the floor for 44 percent, making just 3-11 3-pointers.
Desert Hills is alone in second place in Region 9 with a 4-2 record (14-3 overall). The region title is likely on the line for DH with next Wednesday’s visit to Dixie High.
Hurricane, 8-11 and 1-5, hosts Snow Canyon Wednesday, then visit league-leader Dixie Friday night.
Canyon View 63, Juab 31
Make that eight straight wins now for the Falcons, who screeched past the Wasps early in this game.
Firing away from outside, Blackner had 16 points and helped CV push the lead to 29-12 early in the second quarter.
Juab never really did make a run and it was 47-18 midway through the third quarter.
The Falcons took advantage of shoddy Wasps D to hit 57 percent from the floor in the contest (26-46). CV also owned the boards (30-22) and racked up 17 assists, including six by Cord Johnson and five by Blackner.
Canyon View improves to 14-6 overall and 5-0 in Region 12 this season. The Falcons have a good lead on second-place Richfield (3-1) with three games remaining. The Falcons finish region with three straight home games, beginning with Carbon next Friday.
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