Boys basketball: Perfect weekend for Region 9 in 3A first round

Just like that, Region 10 has been obliterated off the 3A basketball map.

Faced with the unenviable task of first-round cross-regionals with Region 9, the schools from Region 10 had to be a little worried. And when Region 9’s fourth seed, Snow Canyon, beat Union Friday night, Region 10 had to be a lot worried. And for good reason.

Pine View’s overtime win at Grantsville, along with relatively easy home wins by top seeds Dixie and Desert Hills, completed the weekend sweep for the southern Utah schools. With Canyon View’s win over Morgan, five of the eight remaining teams in the 3A State Tournament are from south of Parowan.

“That’s pretty cool,” Desert Hills coach Wade Turley said. “It would be even cooler if we all won in the quarterfinals and had an all-Region 9 semis. It’s happened before.”

Actually, it was only four years ago, with Hurricane winning the title at Burns Arena 52-49 over Desert Hills after the Tigers had defeated Cedar and the Thunder had beaten Dixie in the semifinals.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Saturday night, Region 9 completed the perfect weekend, with the Flyers romping at home against Stansbury, the Thunder holding off a late rally by Tooele and the Panthers squeaking past Grantsville in overtime. Here’s a look at the action:

Dixie 59, Stansbury 39

Dixie’s known for flashy dunks and the incredible talent of Tyler Bennett. Sometimes people forget how good the Flyers can be on defense. Dixie forced 15 first-half turnovers and held the Stallions scoreless for an eight-minute stretch in the first and second quarters to run away with the win.

dixie-logostansbury-sm“We didn’t want them to score, at all,” Bennett said. “We were just feeling it on the defensive side. Defense can be really fun when you’re working together. We were kind of mad that they got that putback in the second quarter.”

That putback, by Stansbury’s Spencer Griffith, came with just over a minute left in the second quarter and turned out to be the only basket of the period for the Stallions. It ended a more than eight-minute stretch without a point for SHS, helping Dixie’s lead grow from 14-7 to 25-9.

Dixie's Richard Guymon (11) blocks a shot by Jaxon Hale, Dixie vs. Stansbury, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Dixie’s Richard Guymon (11) blocks a shot by Jaxon Hale, Dixie vs. Stansbury, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

“It’s all about how you start and we got a bunch of steals in the first quarter,” Dixie center Richard Guymon said. “We have a great defense and it really compliments our offense.”

The Flyers started the game well anyway, opening up an 11-2 advantage just four minutes in. After a timeout, a 3-pointer by Jase Wanless stopped the run and made it 11-5. After a 3-point play by Bennett, Stansbury cut it to 14-7 on a basket by Dakota Fidler with just over a minute left in the first quarter.

And then the well went dry for the Stallions.

For the next eight minutes of game time, Stansbury couldn’t hit a shot. In fact, the Stallions rarely hit the rim, with 15 first-half turnovers and five first-half blocked shots by Dixie (three of those by Guymon).

“We talked about that with the team coming in, about having the energy,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “That was an emphasis. We didn’t want Stansbury to think that they could play with us. That’s been the talk all week in practice. Our defense is what is going to allow us to win games and to keep on playing on in the tournament.”

The damages in the first half for Stansbury: nine total points, 15 turnovers, less than 20 percent shooting and a 28-9 deficit at intermission.

To the Stallions credit, they did make a run in the second half, even pulling to within 13 at one point. But there was never any doubt who would win the game.

Bennett finished with 18 points, though he sat almost the entire fourth quarter. Nate Crockett hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 10 points. A lot of the buzz after the game was about an alley oop dunk by Guymon that came early in the third quarter. Bennett, who threw the lob pass, said the Flyers had just added the play this week in practice.

Dixie's James Eardley (23) and Stansbury's Josh Jenkins, Dixie vs. Stansbury, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Dixie’s James Eardley (23) and Stansbury’s Josh Jenkins, Dixie vs. Stansbury, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

“We’ve been working on it this week, but I didn’t actually see him,” he said. “I just threw it up there and hoped he would come. I just threw it in his direction.”

Guymon spotted it and threw it down in traffic, the first of his eight second-half points. James Eardley also scored eight after halftime and was a big factor rebounding as well.

Dixie, 20-4, advances to play in the quarterfinals with an early game Thursday at the Centrum in Cedar City. The Flyers will play the Logan Grizzlies (who beat Carbon 73-52) at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Dixie beat Logan 66-65 back on Dec. 5 in the 3A Preview in Richfield.

Stansbury, which got 12 points from Wanless, finishes the year 5-19.

Desert Hills 56, Tooele 49

Once the Thunder started rebounding, things started going their way.

desert-hills-logotoole-bg2Desert Hills opened the second half with an 11-2 run by going to the glass and by shutting down the Buffalo shooting. DH allowed Tooele just two points in six minutes to change a 22-20 halftime edge into a 33-22 advantage with two minutes to go in the third.

“We took a deep breath at halftime and said, “Guys, just go play ball,'” DH coach Wade Turley said. “I could tell they were tight and stressed — missing gimmes that they normally make. Another thing that helped, our press caused them some problems, too, forcing turnovers and getting us some easy baskets.”

Desert Hills' Tanner Turley (24), Desert Hills vs. Tooele, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Desert Hills’ Tanner Turley (24), Desert Hills vs. Tooele, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

Although the Thunder would stretch the lead out to 13 a couple of different times, Tooele battled hard in the fourth quarter, creeping to within 48-43 with just over a minute left after a 3-point play by Connor Searle.

DH made enough free throws to cling to a 52-45 lead with 31 seconds left, but Ace Hymas scored and was fouled to pull the Buffaloes within 52-48. The Thunder got the ball in to Logan Hokanson with 18 seconds left and the junior guard hit the free throws to put the game away.

“It was a little scary there for a minute, but I had faith in my guys,” DH’s Ty Simister said. “We wanted to get this first one, but we might have been looking past them a little to Juan Diego. But I knew my guys wouldn’t quit and would get the job done.”

Hokanson and Marcus McKone each scored 14 points, with Tanner Turley putting together an Andrei Kirilenko-like stat line of 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

“We have some great scorers on this team, so I just try do as many of the other little things as I can to make a difference,” Turley said. “We don’t have a lot of bigs, so I go in and rebound and try to help the team.”

Desert Hills'  Logan Hokanson (23), Desert Hills vs. Tooele, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Desert Hills’ Logan Hokanson (23), Desert Hills vs. Tooele, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

The Achilles heel in this game was free throw shooting for the Thunder, who made just 15 of 29 (52 percent). Hokanson was 10 for 14, but the rest of the team went 5 of 15.

“I think this was our worst free throw shooting game of the year,” Coach Turley said. “We’ve got to do better. But we did just enough to finish.”

D-Hills, 17-5, advances to Thursday’s quarterfinals of the 3A tournament and will face Juan Diego at 2:30 p.m. at SUU’s Centrum Arena. The Soaring Eagle eliminated Juab Saturday night 71-58.

Tooele, which got 19 from Hymas and 18 from Searle, ends the year with a 13-10 record.

Pine View 56, Grantsville 48 (F/OT)

Basketball can be a beautiful game. The arc of a deep ball, the pirouette of a post move, the majesty of a power dunk. And then there was Pine View’s win at Grantsville.

pine-view-logograntsville-bg“I don’t know how we won that game. It was ugly,” Panthers coach Darrell Larsen said. “Really, one of the ugliest I’ve ever been a part of. Physical play, bad shooting, crazy, vulgar fans, cheap shots. It was all there. It wasn’t our finest hour, for sure. But the kids are resilient. They kept fighting and found a way to win.”

Pine View was down seven with three minutes to go, but Kade Moore (15 points, four 3-pointers) and Tyler Johnston led an epic rally, eventually tying the game with under 30 seconds to play. The Cowboys had the ball for the last shot, but never got a good look and the game went into overtime.

“The kids just gutted it out with defense,” Larsen said. “Granstville had the ball with a chance to win and we just clamped down. And then in the overtime, we just got stops and rebounded the basketball.”

Pine View outscored Grantsville 10-2 in the four-minute extra period. Things got a little heated, with a Cowboy player being ejected after a cheap shot and a near-brawl. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the Panthers escaped Tooele County with a victory.

Happy PV players after the win. | Photo courtesy Holley Ruesch
Happy PV players after the win. | Photo courtesy Holley Ruesch

“Even when we were shaking hands with them after the game, we were a little worried,” Larsen said. “The fans were right there and it looked like they were were going to come out on the floor and start something. Their fans were like the Cameron Crazies, only with filthier language.”

The two teams had played earlier in the year, with Cody Ruesch’s 18 points and 10 rebounds leading PVHS to a 54-51 win at the 3A Preview Dec. 5 in Richfield. This time, the Cowboys were determined to not let Ruesch own the game.

“Our strength is our post game, as you know, but tonight they just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Larsen said. “Tybo and Kade Moore were huge for us, and Steve Bangerter defensively did some great things.”

Both teams had one field goal in overtime, with Pine View’s eight made free throws being the difference. The Panthers, 14-8, will continue their defense of the state championship Thursday at 12:50 p.m. at the Centrum and will meet a familiar foe. Pine View will face Canyon View, formerly of Region 9 until a realignment last year by the UHSAA sent the Falcons to Region 12. CV beat Morgan 49-46 Saturday.

Grantsville, which got 16 points from Cody Riding and 14 from Cam Potter, ends the year with a 12-12 record.

Canyon View 49, Morgan 46

The Falcons were on the ropes against the No. 4-seed Trojans, but escaped with the exciting win.

Trevor Rose broke a 39-39 tie midway through the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from the wing for Morgan. A few minutes later, Dalan Stanford hit a 12-footer to make it 44-39 and the upset was a real possibility with under four minutes to play.

canyon-view-logomorgan-smCV fought back behind Cord Johnson and Xavier Stoker. Stoker’s free throws cut it to 44-41 with about three minutes left, then Johnson hit 1 of 2 to make it 44-42.

Johnson then swiped a Trojan pass and was fouled on the ensuing fast break. He tied the game at 44 with a pair of charity shots with under three to go.

Then it was Brantzen Blackner’s turn. He pried the ball away from Morgan’s Cade Russell and took it coast to coast for the go-ahead bucket with two minutes left in the game, making it 46-44.

Both teams missed shots and then turned the ball over, leaving it in Johnson’s hands with 31 seconds to go. He was fouled and hit two more to make it 48-44 for the Falcons.

Xavier Stoker
Xavier Stoker

Russell scored quickly for Morgan to make it 48-46 and the Trojans again fouled Johnson. This time, he made just 1 of 2 to give MHS hope.

However, a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Bock Spens caromed off, securing the win for the Falcons.

Johnson led CV with 14 points and Stoker had 12, though the Falcons made just 21 of 35 free throws (60 percent). Morgan shot just seven freebies, making five.

The Falcons, 17-7, advance to the state quarterfinals and will play Pine View at 12:50 p.m. at the Centrum Thursday afternoon. The two teams met earlier this season with PV winning 56-49 in Cedar City.

Thursday’s State Quarterfinals (@ SUU’s Centrum Arena)

9:30 a.m. — Dixie (20-4) vs. Logan (16-7)
11:10 a.m. — Snow Canyon (9-12) vs. Bear River (15-7)
12:50 p.m. — Pine View (14-8) vs. Canyon View (17-7)
2:30 p.m. — Desert Hills (17-5) vs. Juan Diego (16-8)

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.