ST. GEORGE — Snow Canyon returned to the top of the Region 9 mountain, clinching the league title Thursday night at home with a win over third-place Desert Hills. The Lady Warriors were last region champs in 2011, a couple of years before any of the eight seniors on the team were even in high school. Meanwhile, Cedar locked down the No. 2 seed with an easy win against Dixie and Pine View grabbed the last playoff spot by downing Hurricane.
Here’s a look at the action around the region:
Snow Canyon 74, Desert Hills 61
Both teams went on big runs during the course of the game, with the Warriors making their biggest push early in the fourth quarter. A truckload of free throws down the stretch completed the win for the 2016 region champs.
“In the past, when things went a little south for us, the girls kind of panicked,” SC coach Dan Roden said. “Tonight we stayed the course, even when things went wrong. They’ve learned and matured and they trust each other and they trust our system. We have eight amazing seniors that just work their guts out. They’re great leaders and they’re great teammates.”
The Lady Thunder led 45-42 late in the third quarter after a huge performance by Ashley Beckstrand (31 points). But Snow Canyon embarked on an epic 15-2 run the last two minutes of the third and the first 1:40 of the fourth to seize a 57-47 lead.
Shaylee Reed (20 points) started it with four quick points off foul shots and a scooping layup. Beckstrand put D-Hills ahead 47-46 with a minute to go in the third, but Snow Canyon got a basket by Nikenna Durante just five seconds later to make it 48-47, then Natalie Coulam sliced into the lane for 2 more to make it 50-47 to end the third.
The run continued to start the fourth period, with Reed hitting four more free throws, Coulam scoring again and Mada Mooring (27 points) hitting a runner. All of the sudden, SC had a 10-point lead at 57-47 with 6:20 left in the game.
“We’re confident in our abilities and in each other,” Reed said. “We feel like if we stay calm and just play our game that we’ll be just fine.”
Desert Hills used the next two minutes to chisel the lead down to 59-54 after a 3-pointer by Kylie Williams and baskets by Rylee Jensen and Jessica Bills. But another run, this time 7-0, put the game firmly in the Warriors favor. Mooring had 4 points and Reed 3 in the stretch that pushed the lead to 66-54 with 1:57 left in the game.
Snow Canyon then hit 8 of 10 free throws in the final two minutes to put the game away and spark a postgame celebration that included a rendition of the school fight song and the traditional cutting down of the nets.
“There are no egos on this team,” Roden said. “There very easily could be, because there is a lot of talent, but there’s not. They don’t care. Like Mada, she scored 27 tonight, but she would have been just as happy if she only scored 2 as long as we won the game. They’re amazing girls.”
The key stretches came with Beckstrand going through a dry stretch. Coulam was one of the players assigned to slow Beckstrand down, but going into the fourth quarter, the DH star already had 24 points. But Beckstrand went through a seven-minute slump without a point.
“Coach just told us to put a hand in her face and try to make sure the lanes were cut off for her to drive,” Coulam said. “I love to play defense. I just love it. My older sister (Stephanie) played basketball and was a great defensive player and she taught me how to play defense. I wanted to be like her.”
Beckstrand did score 7 points in the last two minutes of the game and finished with 31, but the Thunder could get no closer than 10.
For Snow Canyon, Sydney Bott scored 10 points, making three 3-pointers in a two-minute stretch late in the first quarter. The 27 points is a career high for Mooring, who averages 16 a game. Not to be outdone, Reed also notched a career high with her 20. She averages about 11 a game.
Jensen was the only other Thunder player in double figures. She had 10, while Madison Clark chipped in 7.
Snow Canyon, 20-2 overall and 9-1 in region, will host a first-round playoff game next Friday night. The Warriors opponent has yet to be determined. Park City and Grantsville are tied for third/fourth in Region 10 and split their season series. A coin toss will likely decide SC’s foe. Tipoff time has also yet to be determined.
Desert Hills, 11-10 overall and 6-4 in Region 9, is also in the playoffs as a No. 3 seed. The Thunder will travel to either Stansbury or Union (Roosevelt) next Friday for a first-round playoff game. Those two teams tied for first in Region 10.
Cedar 75, Dixie 37
The Lady Reds rolled over last-place Dixie by sharing the ball (23 assists), hitting open shots (47 percent from the floor) and dominating the glass (a 40-27 advantage in rebounds).
Courtney Morley led the way with the impressive stat line of 12 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Hannah Williams was the top scorer for Cedar with 15 points as the Lady Reds improved to 17-5 overall and 8-2 in region.
It was a respectable 9-4 game halfway through the first quarter when Cedar caught fire. Morley’s first points of the night came on a 3-pointer that sparked an 11-0 run for CHS. Maisie Elison, Dream Weaver and Morgan Myers all hit baskets during the spurt.
A 12-1 stretch to start the second quarter put the Lady Reds ahead 32-7 and the rout was on. It was 42-13 at halftime.
Cedar had 15 steals in the game and blocked five Dixie shots in the whitewashing.
Kelsea Barker had 19 points and Ilah Wallace added 11 for the Lady Flyers, who struggled shooting the ball to the tune of 12 for 46 in the game (26 percent).
Cedar will host a playoff game next Friday, with either Park City or Grantsville visiting Iron County. The two teams are tied for third place in Region 10.
Dixie closes out the year with a 3-18 record overall, 1-9 in region play.
Stats: Cedar 75, Dixie 37
Pine View 63, Hurricane 56
A huge third quarter and the all-around game of Tayvia Ah Quin helped lift the Panthers over Hurricane and into the 3A State Tournament Thursday night.
Ah Quin, who had 23 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, made back-to-back shots to start the second half and erase a 21-18 Hurricane lead. Claire Newby added a 3-pointer to put Pine View ahead 25-21. After a Hurricane free throw, Ah Quin scored again to make it 27-22 midway through the third.
Stefanie Gleave’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer pushed the Panther advantage to 38-28 heading into the final quarter and completed an impressive 20-7 third-quarter run by PV.
The Tigers got within 5 a couple of times through the first six minutes of the fourth. When Taylor Anderson’s 3-pointer fell with under two minutes to play, Hurricane had pulled to within 57-53. But Ah Quin made 5 of 6 free throws in the last minute of the game to seal the victory.
Pine View had one of its best shooting nights from the floor against HHS, making 21 of 39 shots for 54 percent. Unfortunately, PV also had one of its worst shooting nights from the free throw line, hitting just 19-35 charity shots (also 54 percent).
Hurricane wasn’t much better from the line, making just 21-35. But the Tigers were also cold from the floor, hitting 15 of 39 for 38 percent. Pine View also owned the boards with a 35-22 advantage there.
The Panthers, who got 10 points and 8 rebounds from Newby, improve to 12-9 overall and finish Region 9 play with a 4-6 record and in fourth place. PV will play at either Stansbury or Union next Friday night in a first-round playoff contest.
Hurricane, which got nice scoring from Anderson (22 points), Jayden Langford (12) and Madi Hirschi (10), finishes the year with a 2-8 region record, 8-14 overall.
Stats: Pine View 63, Hurricane 56
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