ST. GEORGE – It was a classic tournament, so there was no official champion at the Coach Darin Walker Memorial Holiday Classic this weekend. But two teams, Dixie and Maple Mountain, went 3-0 in the tourney after close wins Saturday afternoon.
The Flyers edged Ridgeline in overtime and Maple Mountain squeaked past Hurricane in two games played at Pine View Middle School. Over at Pine View High, where Darin Walker spent many years helping mold young athletes into productive adults, the two games were not close as Viewmont blasted Snow Canyon and Desert Hills pulled away from Manti.
“We were tickled to be a part of this great tournament that honors Coach Walker,” Thunder coach Wade Turley said. “He was beloved and well-respected and he had an impact on my life. He lifted me and built me up every time I spoke with him. I’m glad we could participate.”
The Walker Classic featured 31 teams (freshman through varsity levels) participating in 40 games over three days. Play concluded Saturday afternoon with four varsity games.
Coach Walker mentored athletes for more than 20 years in the Pine View area and was also the co-founder of Staheli Catering (now Heritage Catering). He passed away in 2014 at the age of 52.
Here’s a look at the Walker Classic games from Saturday:
Dixie 57, Ridgeline 56 (F/OT)
Kaden Elzy hit two free throws with 5.9 seconds left and Riverhawks star Jaxon Brenchley missed a 3-pointer as time expired as the Flyers emerged from the Walker Classic with three wins and no losses.
“It was an exciting game and a great atmosphere,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “We treated it as if it was the championship game, since we were both 2-0 in the tournament going in. Ridgeline is well-coached and has a lot of talent. It was a good win for us.”
The victory continues the remarkable start to the preseason for Dixie, which improves to 9-0 on the season.
“Certainly we feel the weight of being undefeated, but I keep reminding the kids that we are 0-0,” Cuff said. “We’ve had some games we won that felt like losses because we didn’t play very well. But we definitely like where we’re at.”
Dixie led by 12 in the third quarter, but the Riverhawks (6-3) started chipping away at the lead a little at a time, pulling to within 40-35 by the end of the third quarter.
Ridgeline completed the comeback after a basket by Brenchley made it 43-43 with three minutes to go. Brody Henderson gave Dixie the lead back with a lefty layup with just over two minutes left. Brenchley drew a foul with 1:40 to go and made both freebies to tie it again at 45-45.
After a Dixie miss, the Hawks ran the clock down for a final shot. But Ridgeline was called for an offensive foul and the game moved into overtime.
In the extra frame, Kaden Elzy hit a 3-pointer and a driving layup around a couple of RHS free throws to put the Flyers up 52-49. But Dallan Larson nailed a 3-pointer for Ridgeline for the tie and then hit back to back buckets in the paint moments later to make it 56-55 with 10 seconds left.
Elzy then drove hard and drew a foul, making both charity shots for the lead.
Kaden Elzy had 14 points to lead the Flyers, while Stewart and Ty Curtis added 10 each. Richard Guymon had nine and Korbyn Elzy hit some big free throws in the overtime.
Brenchley had 19 to lead Ridgeline, while Theron Wallantine had 18 and Larson had 13.
Dixie is off now until Dec. 28. The Flyers will participate in the Riverton Holiday Tournament Dec. 28-31.
Desert Hills 81, Manti 56
The Thunder had a bit of a rude awakening en route to the blowout.
D-Hills led by 15 early in the second quarter and still held a hefty 35-24 edge late in the first half. But the Templars, much as they’d done all weekend, showed heart and scored the last six points of the half to make it a 35-30 game.
Manti wasn’t done yet, either. Out of the locker room, the Templars scored the first six points and with a minute gone on the third quarter, Manti actually took a 36-35 lead.
Jacob Mathews helped DH regain the lead with a pair of baskets and some free throws, but Manti pulled within 44-40 when Corbin Linam scored on a jump hook with 4:20 to go in the third.
That’s when the Thunder kicked it into gear. Big time. DH scored the last 16 points of the third quarter and hit the first basket of the fourth. In the five-minute stretch, the Thunder turned a 44-40 game into a 62-40 laugher. There were no 3-pointers in the run, just full-length open-court pressure basketball.
“I feel like it was all about effort for us today,” Turley said. “The kids play hard for periods of time, but sometimes they get tired, or maybe mentally fatigued and lose that intensity. Our emphasis this game was to play hard every second you’re in the game and we are holding the kids accountable for that.”
Tanner Turley was the star of the first half as he had 15 points by halftime. In the second half, Mathews (21 points) and Logan Hokanson (15) carried the torch as DH pulled away.
“Tanner and Jake were disappointed in their performances against Maple Mountain,” Coach Turley said. “They really played well today and I thought Tucker Peterson really gave us a boost off the bench.”
Desert Hills, 6-2, made four 3-pointers in the first quarter, but did not hit another in the game. DH made 21 of 27 free throws and outrebounded the Templars 41-15.
The Thunder next play in the Utah Autism Holiday Classic in Salt Lake City Dec. 28-30.
Manti, 4-4, got 21 points from Sam Benson.
Maple Mountain 60, Hurricane 55
Josh Parker and Graden Cahoon starred for the Tigers, but it was the Golden Eagles who pulled away late for the win.
Parker went on his own personal 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter to help Hurricane take a 44-43 lead with 5:36 left in the game. Dawson Beutler hit a free throw to tie the game at 44-44 with 4:59 to go, sparking an 8-0 run.
At 51-44, Hurricane needed a rally and Parker and Cahoon each buried 3-pointers sandwiched around a pair of MM free throws to make it 53-50 with 2:28 to go.
But Beutler took one to the rack with a huge score to make it 55-50 and the lead eventually climbed to 58-52 with 27 seconds left.
Hurricane made one last push, with Jackson Last drawing a foul on a 3-point attempt. He hit all three free throws to make it 58-55 with 10 seconds left. But Tyler Boyack iced the win with six seconds to go by hitting two freebies for the Golden Eagles.
Parker finished with 25 points and Cahoon had 16 as the Tigers made 9 of 23 3-pointers in the game. Last had seven points and 11 assists.
Boyack had 18 points and Beutler had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Maple Mountain, which went 3-0 at the Walker Classic and improved to 4-4 overall.
Hurricane, 5-3, hosts Parowan Tuesday night in its next action.
Stats: MM 60, Hurricane 55
Viewmont 61, Snow Canyon 30
The roof caved in during the second half for the Warriors, who had hung in the game with the 5A Vikings.
With a strong second quarter, Snow Canyon had rallied within 26-18. Cade Thorkelson and Braden Baker hit 3-pointers to keep things close. Baker even hit a banking half-court shot at the halftime buzzer to make it 33-21 for the Vikings at intermission.
But the third quarter was almost literally all Viewmont. The Vikes outscored Snow Canyon 18-2 in the third, with Spencer Mackay leading the way with a pair of 3-pointers. The Warriors couldn’t buy a shot and finished with just two Baker free throws as their total offensive output in the period.
Both coaches emptied the benches in the fourth as Viewmont improved to 5-4 overall. Jared Stringham had 13 points and Lewis Johnson had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Snow Canyon, 3-5, got 10 points from Baker and eight from Thorkelson. The Warriors play in the Steve Hodson Cancer Classic after Christmas (Dec. 28-30) with the opening game against El Dorado (Nev.) at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 28 at Cedar High.
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