Boys 3A State Tournament: Furious comeback falls short for scrappy Falcons

CEDAR CITY — Scrappy is an interesting word. Is it an insult or a compliment? Does it imply lack of talent while also conjuring images of a willingness to fight against all odds? Well, whatever it means, that was the word just about everyone used to describe Canyon View Friday night after the Falcons battled, but fell to the heavily-favored Juan Diego Soaring Eagle 47-43 in the state semifinals at SUU.

juan-diego-logocanyon-view-logo“They really are scrappy and they do a really nice job in their zone,” Juan Diego coach Drew Trost said. “They just battle, battle, battle. We kept telling our guys when we got a little bit of a lead that they were going to fight back because that’s what they do.”

The Soaring Eagle led by as many as 13 in the third quarter (34-21) and still held a 41-32 advantage near the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter. But Canyon View went on an 8-0 run , including back-to-back treys by Cord Johnson a minute apart, to fire up the mostly-Falcon partisan crowd.

Canyon View's Cord Johnson (3), Canyon View vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Boys Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Canyon View’s Cord Johnson (3), Canyon View vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Boys Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The second 3-pointer by Johnson cut the JD lead to 41-40 with 1:05 left in the game and came after consecutive Eagle turnovers.

“Cord is the second Johnson I’ve coached and I’ll tell you what, I’ll take a Johnson any day,” CV coach Rob Potter said. “Those kids aren’t very big, but they’re tough as nails and they’ve been raised right and they’re good kids. I love to coach them.”

Juan Diego tried to run some clock with the slim lead, with Canyon View trying to get to the penalty in team fouls. CV only had four team fouls heading into the last minute of the game.

After a timeout by Trost, Maliik Fagan-Foster escaped on the baseline and scored on a layup that also drew a foul. His and-one free throw made it 44-40 with 32.4 seconds left. After a CV miss, another Fagan-Foster charity shot put the lead to 45-40 with 23.5 to play.

But Johnson wasn’t done, firing another 3 from the left baseline to cut it to 45-43 with 8.5 seconds left.

The Falcons fouled right away, sending Eagle guard Avery Ames to the line with a chance to clinch the game with 7.2 seconds left. The Juan Diego guard missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Fagan-Foster was there for the offensive rebound. Canyon View fouled him with 5.2 seconds left and the senior forward hit both free throws to seal the win and send the Soaring Eagle to the state championship.

Canyon View's Jacob Carrington (10), Canyon View vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Boys Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Canyon View’s Jacob Carrington (10), Canyon View vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Boys Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“Early in the season, we used to sit and let them box us out,” Fagan-Foster said. “Coach told us to act like your teammate is going to miss every single shot and go in there and get the rebound. So I knew I had to go in there and get that rebound and we got it and that won us the game.”

Fagan-Foster finished with 18 points, the only JDHS player in double figures in the defensive-dominated contest.

Xavier Stoker scored 12 points to lead the Falcons, who battled to the end against the bigger Eagle squad.

“We have a never quit attitude,” Potter said. “I never thought, ‘Oh, it’s over. We’re done.’ I knew we’d have that resolve to fight and keep going. I’m still proud of what we’ve done and where we’ve come.”

Juan Diego, 18-8, will play Dixie at 2:45 p.m. Saturday for the 3A state title at the Centrum.

Canyon View, 18-8, will try and scrap out third place with a contest against Bear River at 10:45 a.m. Saturday at Cedar High School.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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

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