ST. GEORGE – With the first round of region games complete, it is Desert Hills that has emerged as the frontrunner in Region 9 girls basketball.
The Thunder entered the season as the Region 9 favorites, but quickly lost its first region matchup. Since then, D-Hills has rattled off four straight wins. Just behind the Thunder are three teams sitting one game back. Cedar and Hurricane were expected to be in the hunt, but Pine View has surprised many with a combination of physicality and pressure defense. Below are game summaries of Tuesday night’s action:
Desert Hills 56, Pine View 48
Going into halftime, the difference between the top two teams in Region 9 was only four points. The home team Thunder held a 22-18 advantage after trailing early in the first 10-3. But Desert Hills head coach Ron Denos’ halftime talk was hardly about strategy and eking out a win.
“We knew that the second half was going to be different,” said Denos. “We pressed them the entire first half and they weathered the storm. But we are much deeper and more athletic. We knew we would eventually wear them down.”
The Thunder’s press paid huge dividends in the third as they were able to convert several Lady Panther turnovers into easy baskets. They had increased their lead to 38-24 after three and continued the barrage into the fourth quarter, eventually taking a 51-27 lead with 5:46 to play on a post move by Elly Williams.
Shortly after, Denos put in his junior varsity players. That did not set too well with Pine View’s Dawn Mead. She started dropping every shot she put up. She would score 12 points over the next three minutes and before Denos could sit back and relax, the Lady Panthers had cut the lead to 51-40 with 2:25 remaining.
Desert Hills put their starters back in, but the momentum continued for Pine View. Bailia Milne’s 15-foot jumper from the left side eventually cut the lead to eight, but by that time the game was less than a minute from completion and the time became the Lady Panthers’ nemesis as well.
“I may have put the subs in too early,” said Denos. “But you always want to get your younger players good varsity experience and I knew that the lead was enough to get the win.”
Both teams shot a low 28 percent from the floor, but Desert Hills got 14 more shots than the Lady Panthers. The teams were even in rebounding (30-30), but the extra possessions came on 10 more turnovers committed by Pine View.
“We played great for three quarters,” said Pine View head coach Chris Brinagh. “In the third, we fell apart. I give credit to Coach Denos and his players. They kept the pressure on and that momentum hurt us. We only had two turnovers in the first half, but ended up with 36 for the game. We can’t win games against good teams committing that many turnovers.”
Claire Newby, Pine View’s principal ball handler, had early foul trouble and was absent during most of the third quarter when Pine View had its run.
Individually, Mead led all players with 14 points. Saraven Allen joined her in double figures with 10 points. Milne and Maycee Hayes scored seven and five, respectively. Newby led the team with eight rebounds and four assists. Hayes led the team with four steals.
For Desert Hills, Ashley Beckstrand led the team with 13 points. Williams and Morgan Myers joined her in double figures with 12 and 11, respectively. Jess Mathis and Megan Wiscombe had eight and six points off the bench.
With the win, Desert Hills takes sole possession of first place in Region 9 with a 4-1 record. The Thunder are 12-3 overall and will host Cedar and try to avenge their only region loss on Thursday night. Pine View falls into a three-way tie with Cedar and Hurricane for second in region play with a 3-2 record. The Panthers will host Snow Canyon on Thursday night. The Lady Warriors beat Pine View in a close game in their first matchup. Overall Pine View falls to 6-6.
Cedar 55, Dixie 28
The Lady Reds’ two-game region slide seemed to fire them up. After taking a modest 23-18 halftime lead, Cedar’s defense in the second half limited the Lady Flyers to 10 total points. Meanwhile at the offensive end, the Lady Reds poured in 32.
“We got back to great defense tonight,” said Cedar head coach John Elison. “That is what we lacked last week. We rebounded the ball well. Maisie (Elison) and Carley (Davis) finished at the basket. Lindsey Robinson played great defense against Kelsea Barker.”
Cedar outshot the Lady Flyers 44 to 27 percent from the floor and also hit 11 of 14 free throws for 79 percent. Individually for Cedar, Robinson and Davis led the team with 11 points each. Elison also scored in double figures with 10 points. Dream Weaver scored eight. Robinson led the team with six rebounds and six assists. Davis and Elison also had six rebounds. Weaver led the team with three steals.
For Dixie, Barker led the team with 10 points. Sina Schwalger scored eight. Ilah Wallace led the team with 12 rebounds. Barker also had four steals.
“Cedar came out fired up,” said Dixie head coach Jaime Araiza. “We struggled with their pressure defense.”
Cedar improves to 3-2 in region play and 12-4 overall. The Lady Reds will travel to Desert Hills Tuesday night with a chance to climb back atop the region standings with a win. Dixie will travel to Hurricane this Thursday. Dixie lost to the Lady Tigers by three points in their first matchup. The Lady Flyers drop to 1-4 in Region 9 and 5-9 overall.
Hurricane 57, Snow Canyon 49
The Lady Tigers broke open a close game in the third quarter by outscoring Snow Canyon 16-3. Hurricane’s lead entering the fourth was 44-28. The Lady Warriors made a valiant comeback, but came up short in the end.
“It’s the same old story,” said Snow Canyon head coach Dan Roden. “When we take care of the ball, we do some good things. When we turn it over, we struggle. We had 23 turnovers tonight, 13 of them in the third quarter. Hurricane made us pay for it.”
“Jayden Langford played amazing tonight,” said Hurricane head coach Franci Homer. “We came out after halftime and had an excellent third quarter defensively. That fed into our success at the offensive end as well.”
Langford led all players with 24 points. She also pulled down 11 rebounds and had four steals. Tylee Brisk joined her in double-figure scoring with 12. Alexa Christensen and Kylee Stevens scored six apiece. Stevens also had three assists and four steals.
For Snow Canyon, Melenaite Kata led the team with 14 points. Hallie Remund and Jasmine Lealao each scored eight. Tylei Jensen scored seven.
Hurricane moves to 3-2 in Region 9 and 10-6 overall. The Tigers will host Dixie on Thursday night. Snow Canyon falls to 8-8 overall and 1-4 in the region, and will travel to Pine View on Thursday night.
REGION 9 STANDINGS
Desert Hills 4-1 (12-3)
Cedar 3-2 (12-4)
Hurricane 3-2 (10-6)
Pine View 3-2 (6-6)
Snow Canyon 1-4 (8-8)
Dixie 1-4 (5-9)
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