ST. GEORGE – Dixie used a huge fourth quarter to seize the game – and first place in Region 9 – Friday night against Pine View. Meanwhile, Desert Hills stayed just a game behind with a huge win at home against Snow Canyon, and Hurricane showed some life in a monster road win at Cedar.
The Dixie win puts the Flyers at 4-0 in region play, a game ahead of both the Panthers and Thunder, as we near the halfway point in Region 9. Hurricane and Cedar have one win apiece and Snow Canyon is still looking for its first region victory. Here’s a look at Friday night’s contests:
Dixie 58, Pine View 49
The number is 358 and the date is Jan. 27, 2016. It’s been 358 days since the Flyers last lost a basketball game, a two-point defeat at Cedar in region play last season. Dixie finished that year with nine straight wins and has now won 17 in-a-row so far this season.
But this latest victory didn’t come easy for the Flyers. Dixie only scored two points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter against the Panthers and watched helplessly as Pine View turned a 31-26 Dixie lead into a 38-33 PV advantage.
“We weren’t playing very well, but our coaches tell us all the time not to get caught up in the emotion of the game,” Dixie guard Kaden Elzy said. “We just needed to play our game. It was the biggest region game so far this year, so of course there’s going to be jitters, a little pressure.”
But the last minute of the third quarter turned out to be the most important minute of the game. Camden Flinders hit a baseline 3-pointer for the Flyers to cut it to a 38-36 game. After a miss by Pine View and a turnover by Dixie, the Panthers played for a last shot. But a turnover gave Dixie the ball back with 2.2 seconds to go.
Dixie inbounded the ball to Flinders, who kicked it ahead to Kannen Dye. The senior guard, without hesitation, pulled up from 35 feet and swished the buzzer-beating 3-pointer. The shot gave Dixie a 39-38 lead and all the momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
“Oh my gosh, that shot was ridiculous,” said Richard Guymon. “Everyone just went crazy. That’s probably the most excited I’ve ever gotten in a game. Kannen had a heck of a game.”
Dye said he had actually been practicing the shot, near half-court, in pregame.
“When we were warming up, I was actually shooting that shot from half-court,” he said. “I was just kind of messing around, but the very first shot I took from there, I made it. Everyone was just kind of laughing. It was kind of funny that in the game the opportunity came up. When I saw it go through the net, I was just so happy because it gave us so much momentum going into the next quarter.”
Riding the wave, the Flyers owned the fourth quarter. Elzy hit a couple of 3-pointers right off the bat to prompt a timeout by the Panthers with the score 45-38. After a Guymon basket, Flinders scored again and the run was complete with Dixie having scored 16 straight points.
Pine View was able to close to within six a couple of times in the last minute of the game (at 53-47 and 55-49), but could never get closer.
The 17-0 start is one of the best in school history for Dixie. Dye said it’s important to keep things in perspective.
“There’s a different way of talking about it. You can talk about it and be confident, but you have to be humble about it,” he said. “That’s the biggest part of it. A lot of times teams don’t focus on the humble part. Be ready, be humble and don’t underestimate the opponent. We never underestimate teams and I think that’s why we’re always so prepared.”
Elzy led Dixie with 18 points, while Flinders and Sam Stewart had 10 points each. Twelve of Elzy’s 18 points came in the fourth quarter. The Flyers made 7 of 16 3-pointers (44 percent) and were 21 of 40 overall in the game (52 percent).
Dixie, 17-0 and 4-0, finishes the first half of region play with a home game Wednesday against Cedar.
Pine View, 13-3 and 3-1, got 14 points each from Dylan Hendrickson and Trey Farrer. The Panthers had 19 turnovers in the game to Dixie’s 14. Tayler Tobler had eight points off the bench. Pine View plays at home against Desert Hills Wednesday night.
Desert Hills 76, Snow Canyon 33
“That third quarter was pretty amazing,” DH coach Wade Turley said. “We outscored them 31-9. We forced them into some tough possessions and the kids got into the running game and shared the basketball. The transition 3 was big for us.”
The big Achilles heel for Snow Canyon this season has been turnovers and Friday night’s game was no different. The Warriors had 27 turnovers and forced just six.
“That was the story of the game,” Turley said. “A lot of those turnovers turned into layups or open 3s. That really helped get us going.”
Snow Canyon was in the game at 29-19 at halftime before the huge Desert Hills outburst in the third. Braden Baker (12 points, five rebounds) helped keep it close. But Logan Hokanson made six 3-pointers (on just 10 attempts) and Cam Clayton and Braxton Porter hit two each to put distance between the two teams.
Tanner Turley had 12 points and seven rebounds for Desert Hills, which improved to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in region play. Twelve different DH players scored in the game.
The Thunder finish the first half of region play with a big game at Pine View on Wednesday. Snow Canyon, which has lost four straight, is 6-9 overall and 0-4 in region. The Warriors host Hurricane Wednesday night.
Stats: Box Score DHHS (SCHS)-12017
Hurricane 65, Cedar 37
“We made shots tonight, and that’s what’s been missing for us lately,” Hurricane coach Todd Langston said. “Our length on defense bothered them and we rebounded the ball well, but mostly it was just hitting shots that we’ve been missing the last three games.”
Josh Parker made many of those, hitting six 3-pointers and going off for 25 points. Jackson Last had 17 points and eight assists and Graden Cahoon chipped in eight points.
“Josh really shot the ball well – I think he hit 6 of 8 3s,” Langston said. “We also took really good care of the basketball, which is refreshing. But in those three losses, we played some really good teams.”
Last was responsible for slowing down Cedar star Keenan Nielson and did yeoman-like work. Nielson averages 19 points a game, but was held to a season-low 12 points.
Parker hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to stake the Tigers to a 12-5 lead after one quarter, but the lead quickly ballooned to to 22-5 as part of a 13-0 Hurricane run. Last and Parker each hit a 3-pointer in the run and Reagan Marshall scored twice as it was 31-16 at halftime.
Cahoon opened the second half with two straight scores and the rout was on. The Redmen would get no closer than 16 the rest of the game.
“When Josh and Jackson play well, we usually win and when they don’t we don’t,” Langston said. “I think everyone knows that about us now. But I was happy with our effort. We forced Cedar to do some things they didn’t want to do.”
Hurricane owned the boards, using a 28-12 advantage in that area, including 11 on the offensive end. The Tigers made 21 of 43 shots (49 percent) and hit 8 of 17 3-pointers (47 percent).
Hurricane is 11-7 overall and 1-3 in region with a road game at Snow Canyon next Wednesday.
Cedar, 9-8 and 1-3, got 10 points from Parker Haynie to compliment Nielson’s 12. But no other Redmen scored more than five points. Forward Mason Fakahua did not play due to injury. Cedar plays at Dixie Wednesday night.
Stats: Hurricane 65, Cedar 37
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