Girls basketball: 1st place D-Hills rolls; 3-way tie for 2nd

Snow Canyon's Tylei Jensen (1), Snow Canyon vs. Cedar, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Jan. 31, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – With Tuesday’s blowout win, Desert Hills continues to distance itself from the rest of Region 9. And three teams sit squarely in second, two games back of the Lady Thunder, but two games ahead of fifth-place Snow Canyon.

While the possibility still exists for the defending-champion Warriors to make the playoffs, it became less likely with their Tuesday loss, coupled with Pine View’s Tuesday win. Below are game summaries of Tuesday night’s action:

Cedar 68, Snow Canyon 52

Maisie Elison had a career-high 15 points to pace the visiting Lady Reds over Snow Canyon. The Cedar post got most of her points on putbacks, but also hit two 3-pointers.

“We don’t really run any plays for Maisie,” said her father, head coach John Elison. “She just let the game come to her and took advantage.”

Cedar’s Maisie Elison (33), Snow Canyon vs. Cedar, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Jan. 31, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The 3-point accuracy was not a surprise. “She won the 3-point contest at the Hodson Classic,” said Coach Elison.

Snow Canyon assistant coach Ryan Rarick agreed.

“She hurt us at their place with her shooting,” he said. “When you face an opponent like Cedar who can hurt you in many ways, sometimes you have to pick your poison. We decided not to chase her out there and she knocked them down.”

The story was a familiar one for Snow Canyon. The Warriors kept their opponents in check for three quarters. But there is one quarter where they could not contain the Lady Reds. Tonight that span was the last 35 seconds of the third quarter extending into the first few minutes of the fourth.

The Lady Warriors only trailed 41-40 after Mele Kata completed a three-point play with 1:17 remaining in the third. After a Cedar timeout, the Lady Warriors forced a turnover and had a chance to enter the fourth quarter with their first lead since the closing seconds of the first quarter.

Snow Canyon’s Brielle Hoskins (3), Snow Canyon vs. Cedar, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Jan. 31, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Snow Canyon came up empty on two separate possessions. Meanwhile, at the other end, Lindsey Robinson and Dream Weaver both connected from downtown with the latter going through the net as the buzzer sounded. Instead of the lead, Snow Canyon faced a 47-40 deficit.

“Those quick 3-pointers seemed to deflate us,” said Rarick. “We came out very flat in the fourth quarter.”

The lead hit double digits on Robinson’s free throw with 5:51 remaining, 52-42. Long-range shooting by Brielle Hoskins and Jasmine Lealao would pull the Lady Warriors back to within 10 on two different occasions. But with two minutes remaining, Snow Canyon head coach Dan Roden still saw an eight-point deficit and directed his team to start fouling.

The Lady Reds hit their free throws and eventually extended their victory to the final 16-point margin.

In the first quarter, Snow Canyon’s game plan appeared to have Cedar on the ropes. The wings were feeding the ball into Kata, who converted three baskets in-a-row at the offensive end.

Coach Elison had to expend a timeout to figure a way to shut down Kata.

“She is so strong down low,” he said. “She is difficult to stop once she gets position.”

Maisie Elison was tasked most of the night with guarding Kata.

“In the timeout, we were told to try to keep her off the block and once the entry pass was made, to make her turn to her non-shooting hand. Plus we had our backcourt players come to help.”

The strategy seemed to plug the holes in the Cedar defense. Kata would still get buckets, but most of those came off of offensive rebounds later in the game. The Lady Reds closed the gap in the first quarter to escape with a 14-14 tie.

Cedar’s Dream Weaver (00), Snow Canyon vs. Cedar, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Jan. 31, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Cedar jumped out early in the second, scoring the first five points. Sara Pearson had two 3-pointers in the quarter and her second gave Cedar a 24-18 lead. Hoskins matched her at the other end. Kata and Hoskins together scored nine points in the quarter and Snow Canyon only trailed by three at halftime.

Starting the third, it was again Cedar jumping out quickly. With 4:30 on the clock, Elison’s 3-pointer gave Cedar its first double-digit lead of the night, 37-26. But again it was Hoskins and Kata bringing Snow Canyon back, making up 10 points over the next three minutes.

“(Brielle) Hoskins missed several games due to concussion symptoms,” said Rarick. “But in practice, she was playing well and her first game back she scored 10 points. She has had the green light offensively.”

Cedar had very balanced scoring. Elison had a double-double, pulling down 13 rebounds to go with her 15 points. Dream Weaver and Lindsey Robinson joined her in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Carly Davis and Japrix Weaver each scored eight points.

For Snow Canyon, Hoskins and Kata led all players with 16 points apiece. Tylei Jensen scored nine. Lealao scored seven. Jensen and Lealao led the team with five rebounds apiece.

Cedar slides into a three-way tie for second place at 4-3 in Region 9. Overall the Lady Reds are 13-5. They will host Pine View on Thursday night. Snow Canyon falls to 2-5 in region and 9-9 overall and will host Dixie on Thursday.

Pine View 49, Hurricane 44

The Lady Panthers rebounded from a loss and captured the home win. After an even first quarter, Hurricane took a 21-19 lead into the locker room at halftime. Pine View surged ahead in the third with a 36-32 lead, then hit key free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory.

The team stats for both teams were nearly identical except for one glaring deficiency for Hurricane. The difference in the game came at the free-throw line. Pine View connected on 14 of 21 for 67 percent. The Lady Tigers only hit 7 of 24 for 29 percent.

“It was a great team win,” said Pine View head coach Chris Brinagh. “We hit some clutch free throws at the end to win it. Coach Homer’s girls played well. Our free throw shooting has helped us win some close games this year.”

Hurricane head coach Franci Homer said she knew it came down to those charity shots.

“Free throws can win or lose a game for you,” she said. “Tonight it definitely lost the game for us. We played well in every other facet of the game, but Pine View won the battle at the free-throw line.”

Claire Newby led all players with 16 points. She was joined in double figures my Bailia Milne (15) and Saraven Allen (12). Milne also led the team with seven rebounds while Allen paced the team with four assists and three steals.

For the Lady Tigers, Jayden Langford had 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Kylee Stevens had eight points, three steals and four assists. Alexa Christensen had six points and eight rebounds. Hailey Homer had six points and six rebounds.

Pine View moves into a three-way tie with Hurricane and Cedar for second place at 4-3. The Lady Panthers evened their overall record at 7-7. They will travel to Cedar on Thursday night. Hurricane’s overall record fell to 11-7. HHS will host Desert Hills on Thursday.

Desert Hills 73, Dixie 35

Dixie hosted Region 9 frontrunner Desert Hills Tuesday night and things got ugly early. The Lady Thunder had a 21-4 advantage after the first quarter and sported a 40-10 halftime lead. The Lady Flyers played Desert Hills almost even in the third, but offensively could not keep up with the Thunder in the fourth quarter.

“We played very well as a team tonight,” said Desert Hills head coach Ron Denos. “We have been working on playing less selfishly. Tonight we had great passing. We had 21 assists on 29 baskets. That is something we have been emphasizing in practice.”

Once again, the Thunder disrupted the opposing team with pressing defense.

“We had trouble handling the full-court pressure,” said Dixie head coach Jaime Araiza. “We did much better in the second half, but we also had trouble finding the basket.”

Ashley Beckstrand led all players with 15 points. Elly Williams and Morgan Myers scored 12 apiece. Jess Mathis scored nine. Williams and Megan Wiscombe led the team with 12 rebounds apiece. Beckstrand and Myers had four assists each.

For Dixie, Sina Schwalger and Ilah Wallace scored eight apiece. Kelsea Barker scored seven.

Desert Hills now has a two-game advantage atop the Region 9 standings at 6-1. Overall DHHS sits at 14-3. The Lady Thunder will travel to Hurricane on Thursday. Dixie falls to 1-6 in region and 5-11 overall. DHS will travel to Snow Canyon Thursday.

REGION 9 Standings
Desert Hills 6-1 (14-3)
Cedar 4-3 (13-5)
Hurricane 4-3 (11-7)
Pine View 4-3 (7-7)
Snow Canyon 2-5 (9-9)
Dixie 1-6 (5-11)

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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