CEDAR CITY – The Cedar Redmen held off a furious comeback by the Canyon View Falcons in the fourth quarter to take home the victory 58-46 Wednesday night at CVHS.
Cedar’s defense kept the Falcons in check for the first three quarters to seize a 40-27 advantage, but the fourth quarter ended up being all offense on both sides, staying mostly even.
“As much as (the Falcons) love to beat us, we love to beat them,” Cedar head coach Russ Beck said. “I’ve only been around for two games in the rivalry, but what an awesome environment at both places. Cedar comes out and supports their kids. Both teams are Cedar kids. It’s a big game, because we like the feel of winning. We want to keep on becoming the team that we think we can be.”
Cedar forward Mason Fakahua said agreed.
“We were tired of losing to them,” he said. “Three straight times, that’s not OK. We were definitely motivated to come in here and get the victory.”
Cedar’s defense held Canyon View to five points in the first quarter and only 16 points in the first half, while the Redmen put up 27 points.
“You always want to go into the locker room with a little bit of momentum,” Beck said. “You want to be that team that hits that last shot or gets the last stop. There’s a little bit of carryover.”
With the Redmen up nine points just before the halftime, Cedar’s Keenan Nielson got a layup at the buzzer to push the lead to double digits.
“Getting it to a double-digit lead by halftime, that’s always good,” Nielson said.
Nielson led all scorers with 21 points, while Fakahua added 16 more. Parker Haynie also scored 11 points in the win.
Fakahua scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and was doing most of his damage on mid-range jumpers.
“I’ve been working on that a ton,” he said. “The jump shot is where I can help a little bit. Parker (Haynie) and I, being the players that we are, we can help inside and outside. I wouldn’t get those shots without the guys getting me the ball.”
Canyon View exploded for 18 points in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to six points thanks to turnovers. But Cedar’s free throws iced the game and restored the Redmen’s lead late in the game.
“We kind of trusted our press breaker, but it was just where we kept putting the ball,” Beck said. “There was one guy wide open in our press breaker pretty consistently. We decided to make it a little bit more difficult. Obviously, they’re going to turn up the pressure, desperation kind of sets in, and gambling. Sometimes when you gamble, you win. Sometimes when you gamble, you don’t.”
Nielson said: “I think we got kind of complacent, kind of thought it was over. They hit some big shots, hit some big 3s. We had to kind of regroup and go after it again to close them out.”
Nielson said thinks the team is making big strides in learning how to play together and win games.
“I feel like we’re finally getting into it,” Nielson said. “We’re finding out how to win, even tough games. This atmosphere makes it sometimes hard to win games like this.”
Beck is always saying the team needs to trust each other, trust the coaches and trust the game plan. He thinks the team is getting closer.
“I think that trust has begun growing among teammates with the system, and that definitely helps out,” he said.
Cedar, 7-5, will play next against Richfield Saturday at 5 p.m. at Cedar High School before starting region play in St. George at Desert Hills next Wednesday.
Canyon View had three players in double figures in the game, with Abe Huxford, Brantzen Blackner and Porter Miller all scoring 10 each. Huxford hit three 3-pointers. Blackner came into the game averaging nearly 17 points a contest.
The Falcons, 7-8, played all of Region 9 in the preseason, beating Cedar and Snow Canyon and losing to Cedar, Hurricane, Dixie, Pine View and Desert Hills, for a 2-5 record against its former (and future) region mates. CV’s next game is a Region 12 contest against Juab next Wednesday at CVHS.
Region 9 Preseason records
Pine View 10-2
Desert Hills 9-3
Snow Canyon 6-5
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