ST. GEORGE — It was a good night for the road teams Wednesday in Region 9, with the visitors taking all three contests, including Hurricane, which got its second region win of the year at Cedar. Desert Hills used a couple of big runs to disappoint Pine View at The Pit. And Dixie continued to roll, running past Snow Canyon in The Jungle. There were a lot of happy bus rides home Wednesday night.
Canyon View, meanwhile, playing its first year in Region 12, clinched its first region title in 17 years with a thrilling four overtime victory over North Sanpete. The Falcons are 7-0 and lead Richfield by two games.
Here’s a glance at the evening’s action:
Desert Hills 61, Pine View 52
The Thunder started the game fast and didn’t let up until the fourth quarter.
DH opened the game with a 10-2 run, then put together a 7-0 run early in the third quarter to eventually push the lead out to 51-32 with six minutes left in the game. A furious Pine View rally pulled the Panthers within 55-50 (an 18-4 PV run), but a key offensive rebound by Marcus McKone and sharp free throw shooting finished off the victory for Desert Hills.
“I didn’t have to say much to these guys, they were ready,” DH coach Wade Turley said. “The kids knew what was on the line and really wanted to fight for second place and that home playoff game. We have a great deal of respect for Pine View and their program and knew we needed to be at our best to get this win.”
The Thunder played so well in the first 26 minutes of the 32-minute game that it seemed like the win may be DH’s easiest of the season. Down by 19 early in the fourth quarter, Panthers coach Darrell Larsen had his team start pressing full court and taking chances on defense.
The gamble paid off as Pine View shaved 7 points off the lead by going on a 9-2 run. Dylan Hendrickson’s steal and 3-point play cut it to 53-41 with 2:37 to play. And the Panthers weren’t done.
McKone’s two free throws made it 55-41 with 2:33 left, but preceded a 9-0 Pine View run that included a Tyler Johnston 3-pointer and baskets by Hendrickson and Ruesch.
Then came perhaps the biggest moment in the game. With the score 55-50 with 53 seconds left, Desert Hills guard Lokan Hokanson stepped to the line for a one-and-one free throw. The shot caromed high off the rim and was tipped out by McKone, who then ran the loose ball down in the corner. He was fouled and basically iced the game with two free throws with 49 seconds left.
“That was a big play for us,” Turley said. “Physically, he’s not quite 100 percent (neck), but it was nice to have him back in the line-up after missing Friday. He’s been known to make a big play or two for us and none was bigger than that rebound at the end of the game.”
McKone also led the Thunder in scoring, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and making all six of his free throws in his 18-point performance. Hokanson had 17 points, making 6 of 10 field goals and 4 of 5 free throws.
“Logan’s not very tall, but he just has a way of being able to get his shot off in amongst the big guys,” Turley said. “He knows how to use his body and squeeze between people and score in traffic.”
As alluded to by the coach, Desert Hills earns the region’s No. 2 seed with the win, guaranteeing a home playoff game next week in the first round of the 3A State Tournament. The first-round games are tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., though the times may change depending on coaches agreements. The rest of the tourney is Feb. 25-27 at SUU’s Centrum Arena.
The Thunder, 16-4 overall and 6-3 in region, got 9 points and 9 rebounds from Tanner Turley. DH, which had a 10-2 run and a 10-1 run in the middle quarters in building that big lead, made five 3-pointers in the game.
Pine View got a big-time performance from Ruesch, who had 23 points and 12 rebounds. But the senior power forward didn’t have much help as no other PV player reached double figures in scoring. Hendrickson, coming off the bench, scored 8 points, with no one else adding more than 6.
The Panthers fall to 5-4 in region (12-8 overall) and are locked into the No. 3 seed in Region 9. That means Pine View will hit the road in the first round on Feb. 20. The destination will most likely be Grantsville, which is in second place in Region 10.
With the playoff seeding locked up for the Thunder and Panthers, Friday’s games will be relatively meaningless as far as the postseason goes. Not so for their opponents, as Desert Hills hosts Snow Canyon and Pine View hosts Hurricane with both those teams fighting (along with Cedar) for the fourth and final playoff spot from the region.
Dixie 63, Snow Canyon 50
One thing people are starting to understand about this Dixie High team: These guys play tough defense.
Dixie’s got flash, with Tyler Bennett going off for 29 points and DHS hitting 8 of 15 3-pointers in the contest. But the Region 9 champs (outright now) may best be known for their ability to clamp down on D when the occasion calls for it.
The Warriors scored just 3 first-quarter points and trailed 25-15 at the half. By the end of the third, it was 45-29 and the Dixie defense had earned a little break in the final quarter. Snow Canyon could manage just 19 for 47 in the game (40.7 percent) from the floor and the Warriors hit just 2 for 12 from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Bennett was en fuego, burying all four of his 3-point attempts in the game, plus hitting 9 of 10 from the charity stripe. Nate Crockett chipped in 9 points, including 2 for 4 from deep, and five other Flyers scored at least four points in the contest.
Justin Loveless (13 points) helped Snow Canyon score 21 points in the fourth quarter to bring the score a little closer. Loveless also had seven rebounds, including three at the offensive end. Caeden Barney had 11 points and five assists and TJ Taimi had 9 points and 6 boards for SC.
The Flyers, 8-1 in region and 18-4 overall, have allowed less than 48 points a game in region play this season. Dixie, which finishes the regular season with a home game Friday against Cedar, will host a first-round playoff game Feb. 20, most likely against Stansbury.
Snow Canyon, 8-12 overall and 3-6 in region, will close out the regular season Friday at Desert Hills. The Warriors are tied with Cedar for fourth place, with the two teams a game ahead of Hurricane heading into that final contest.
The Warriors have been coached by James Brown for the last 15 seasons, but will have a new leader next season. Brown, a St. George native who graduated from Pine View and went on to play college football, announced that he was retiring from coaching effective the end of this season.
Brown, who has had a great run at SCHS (including a state championship in 2002), told the audience at SCHS of his decision to retire from coaching before the game. Many fans sat in stunned silence at the announcement, though ultimately Brown received a rousing ovation for his service as a Warrior.
Hurricane 62, Cedar 52
The Tigers showed they aren’t dead in the water just yet with the impressive road win that featured a dominant fourth quarter by Hurricane.
“The kids have played hard all year, but have had a hard time finishing games,” Hurricane coach Todd Langston said. “Tonight was nice because we executed in the half court and played good defense and we were actually able to finish a game.”
The Tigers were excellent in the fourth quarter. countering a Cedar run with some hot outside shooting. The Redmen closed the third with a basket by Braden Garrett and then opened the fourth with a 3-pointer by Ethan Boettcher and a putback by Ben Brinkerhoff to take their biggest lead of the second half, 50-46.
A 3-pointer by Landon Barker pulled HHS to within 50-49 and then Josh Parker hit a trey to put the Tigers on top 52-50. Kirt McDaniel scored inside and Parker capped the 9-0 run with a free throw to make it 55-50 with 3:25 to play in the game.
Keenan Nielson, who hit a buzzer-beater to defeat Hurricane a couple of weeks ago, made two free throws to cut it to 55-52 with 2:37 to play, but the Redmen would not score again as the Tigers finished the game on a 7-0 run to capture their second region win.
“The guys hit some big 3s in the fourth quarter,” Langston said. “We did a good job of playing inside-out, with the posts finding the open shooters.”
Parker led Hurricane with 16 points and sophomore Jackson Last had 12. Parker made four 3-pointers, while Hinton was a rebounding machine with 16 boards to go with his 9 points. The Tigers outscored Cedar 19-7 in the fourth quarter and made nine 3-pointers in the game.
With the win, Hurricane keeps postseason hopes alive. The Tigers close out the regular season Friday at Pine View and would need to win that game, plus have Cedar lose at Dixie and Snow Canyon lose at Desert Hills to create a three-way tie for the fourth and final playoff spot.
“Absolutely we’re hanging on by a thread,” Langston said. “We got some help tonight with Snow Canyon losing to Dixie. Obviously Pine View is going to be tough, especially at home, but we have some hope. But I am so glad we have a chance for our last game of the year to have some meaning. It gives us a good reason to go to practice tomorrow.”
The Tigers are now 9-14 overall and 2-7 in region.
Cedar had three players in double figures in Nielson (12 points), Ben Brinkerhoff (12) and Mason Fakahua (10). Nielson also had seven rebounds and six assists. The Redmen, 8-11 and 3-6, close out the region schedule with a trip to first-place Dixie. Cedar is the only team to have defeated Dixie in region play, a 51-49 win in January.
Stats: Hurricane 62, Cedar 52
Canyon View 78, North Sanpete 74 (F/4 OT)
Cord Johnson had 23 points and Brantzen Blackner added 20 for the Falcons, who cut down the nets Wednesday night in honor of their first region title since 1999.
Trey Sorensen put the Hawks ahead in the fourth OT with an old-fashioned 3-point play. NSHS led 73-70, but would watch helplessly as Xavier Stoker would lead the Falcons on an 8-1 run over the final three minutes of the fourth extra period.
Stoker’s shot in the lane made it 73-72, then Johnson made three straight free throws to put Canyon View ahead for good at 75-73. The Falcons only made three of their last six charity shots, but it was enough to carry them to the win.
Stoker, who had 17 points, helped CV to a 4-point lead in the third OT at 63-59. The Hawks got within 70-68 in the closing seconds and Dakota Anderson tied the game just ahead of the buzzer to force the fourth OT.
Anderson had 29 points and Sorensen had 19 for North Sanpete. The Hawks shot 53 percent in the game (24-45).
Canyon View, 15-6 overall, closes out the regular season with a home game against Richfield. The Wildcats, at 5-2 in Region 12, can’t catch CV for the league title, but are looking to avenge a home loss to Canyon View from earlier this season.
Stats: CV 78, NS 74 (F/4 OT)
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.