Girls basketball: Lady Thunder cut down the nets; Cedar clinches 2nd

The Thunder pose with the Region 9 championship trophy, Desert Hills vs. Snow Canyon, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Everything was settled in Region 9 girls basketball Tuesday night. Well, at the top, anyway.

Desert Hills claimed the Region 9 season championship outright with its win over Snow Canyon. Cedar put enough distance between itself and the teams behind it to claim second place and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

Desert Hills’ Ashley Beckstrand (24) cuts down the net after her team clinched the Region 9 championship, Desert Hills vs. Snow Canyon, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Then we have a big mess.

Currently, Hurricane and Pine View are tied for the third spot, with Snow Canyon one game behind. Pine View’s last game is against Desert Hills and the Panthers are experiencing their worst slide of the season. If Snow Canyon wins against Hurricane and the Lady Panthers fall to Desert Hills on Thursday, then Region 9 will have a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots.

In the event of a three-way tie for the final two berths in the state tournament, Region 9 holds a coin toss for the teams involved. Three coins will be tossed and the odd coin will receive the last seed (fourth). The two remaining schools will hold a playoff (or play-in) game for the higher seed (third), with the loser ending its season.

If Pine View beats Desert Hills, then the Hurricane/Snow Canyon matchup only affects the two teams playing. If Hurricane wins, it will be the fourth seed. If the Tigers lose and Pine View wins, then Hurricane and Snow Canyon will play a third time in a play-in game.

Should Pine View lose against the Thunder and Hurricane win against Snow Canyon, the Lady Tigers would be seeded third and Pine View would take the final playoff spot.

Below are game summaries of Tuesday night’s action:

Desert Hills 45, Snow Canyon 25

The Lady Thunder cut down the nets as they clinched the Region 9 title outright on their home floor with the convincing win over visiting Snow Canyon.

The Thunder opened the game on a 9-0 run and then used another convincing run over the middle two quarters to put any chances of a Lady Warriors win out of reach.

Desert Hills’ Morgan Myers (32), Desert Hills vs. Snow Canyon, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Four different players scored in the opening run, starting with Ashley Beckstrand’s 3-pointer to open the game. Jasmine Lealao finally connected to get the Lady Warriors on the board with three minutes remaining in the first. Three straight baskets by Snow Canyon cut the lead to four with 22 seconds left. Lindsy McConnell got two offensive rebounds and putbacks and then Tylei Jensen scored on a fast break. The Thunder lead was down to 14-10. Madi Clark hit a jumper as the horn sounded for Desert Hills and the Thunder took a six-point lead into the second quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Snow Canyon had narrowed the lead. Melaine Kata’s free throw pulled Snow Canyon to 19-14 with 3:37 remaining. From that point until the waning seconds of the third quarter, the Warrior basket was very disinviting. The Thunder put together an 18-0 run during that time.

It started with a steal and three-point play by Westhoff. It did not end until Lealao drove the lane and got the layup with 16 seconds remaining in the third quarter. By that time the lead had grown to 37-16.

“We played well against their pressure for about 12 minutes,” said Snow Canyon head coach Dan Roden. “They have most of the positives we lack right now. Size, athleticism and experience. Senior-laden teams will usually have that advantage. We are young and inexperienced. But even from the last time we played them to tonight we saw improvement.”

After the run, Thunder head coach Ron Denos called off his press and midway through the fourth, both teams subbed in their reserves. On Senior Night for the Thunder, the seniors accounted for 34 of the teams 45 points.

Desert Hills’ Elly Williams (12) and Snow Canyon’s Lindsy McConnell (32), Desert Hills vs. Snow Canyon, Girls Basketball, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“Ashley (Beckstrand) has been our leader on offense,” said Denos. “Morgan (Myers) has been our leader on defense. Elly (Williams) has been a rebounding machine. Taylor (Salisbury) has been a dominating defensive presence in the middle. Megan (Wiscombe) is our scoring spark off the bench. They all know their roles and have played their roles well.”

This is the Thunder’s first region title since its state championship team in 2014. Beckstrand is the only player to have played on both teams.

“Our team today is so different,” said Beckstrand. “Our state championship team had four starters over six feet. It was a post-oriented offense and, defensively, we forced people into tough outside shots with our size. This year’s team is more wing-oriented. We have excellent shooters. We rely on our pressure to create turnovers. Totally different team. I am happy to have played on both of them.”

Beckstrand led the team with 19 points. Williams led the team with eight rebounds and five steals. Myers matched the team lead with five steals and scored seven points. For Snow Canyon, Lealao led with six points. Brielle Hoskins and McConnell scored four apiece.

Desert Hills moves to 8-1 in Region 9 and 16-3 overall. The Lady Thunder travel to Pine View on Thursday night.

“Pine View will be playing for a spot still,” said Williams. “We have clinched, so we need to come out focused on Thursday.”

Despite the loss, the Lady Warriors got new hope upon learning that both Pine View and Hurricane lost on Tuesday night. Snow Canyon falls to 3-6 in region play and 10-10 overall. They will host Hurricane in a win or go home situation. A win guarantees the Lady Warriors one more game.

Dixie 58, Pine View 55

The Lady Flyers were already mathematically eliminated prior to the matchup against visiting Pine View. That does not mean they could not make things interesting for the teams vying for a playoff spot.

Pine View would have clinched with a win, but ran into a Flyer team that shot lights out from distance. The Flyers hit 7 of 15 beyond the arc for a 46 percent clip. The Panthers held a 39-35 advantage going into the fourth quarter, but Dixie came through in the clutch and outscored Pine View 23-16 in the final stanza.

“It was great to get a win at home tonight,” said Dixie head coach Jaime Araiza. “The girls played hard and despite getting in some foul trouble, we were able to pull out the win.”

Kelsea Barker led all players with 21 points. Sina Schwalger joined her in double figures with 10. Joslyn Bundy scored eight. For Pine View, Claire Newby scored 17. Bailia Milne and Saraven Allen scored 12 and 10, respectively. Maycee Hayes led the team with five rebounds.

“We got outrebounded,” said Pine View head coach Chris Brinagh. “Hats off to the Flyers. They shot lights out from 3-point land.”

Dixie improves to 2-7 in region play and 6-12 overall. They will host Cedar in a game meaningless to playoff position, but important for the Flyers, who want to end the season on a positive note.

The Lady Panthers fall to 4-5 in region play and 7-9 overall. Pine View will host the Lady Thunder on Thursday. A win against the region champions guarantees a playoff spot. A loss coupled with a Snow Canyon win leads to a coin toss for playoff seeding.

Cedar 52, Hurricane 46 (F/OT)

Cedar clinched the second seed, but had to go to overtime to do it over the visiting Tigers. Hurricane held the Lady Reds to only five points in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but Cedar found its offense in the extra period and outscored the Lady Tigers 11-5 for the win.

“The girls played hard tonight, winning in overtime,” said Cedar head coach John Elison. “Dream Weaver got undercut and suffered a concussion, so we had to finish the game without her. Hurricane shot very well tonight and played tough. They made us earn it. Good team effort on Senior Night.”

Japrix Weaver led the team with 13 points. Courtnie Lamb and Maisie Elison scored nine and seven, respectively. Carley Davis led the team with eight rebounds and three steals.

For Hurricane, Jayden Langford led the team with 13 points and seven rebounds. Kylee Stevens and Madi Hirschi scored eight apiece. Halli Gubler and Hailey Homer scored seven apiece.

“We played great on the road and came up short in overtime,” said Hurricane head coach Franci Homer. “Jayden Langford had to go to the bench 30 seconds into the third quarter because of foul trouble. That hurt us. We battled back in the fourth to tie it up, but just couldn’t keep up with Cedar offensively in overtime.”

Cedar improves to 6-3 in Region 9 and 15-5 overall. With the win, the Lady Reds avenged the earlier two losses to Pine View and Hurricane and clinched the second seed. They will travel to Dixie for their final game.

Hurricane falls to 4-5 in region play and 11-9 overall. The Lady Tigers will travel to Snow Canyon on Thursday night. Win and they are in the playoffs with a likely third seed in Region 9. If they lose and Pine View also loses, then the playoff seeding and play-in game will be decided by a coin flip. If the Lady Tigers lose and Pine View beats Desert Hills, then Hurricane and Snow Canyon will play a third time to determine the fourth seed.

REGION 9 GIRLS BASKETBALL STANDINGS
Desert Hills 8-1 (16-3)
Cedar 6-3 (15-5)
Hurricane 4-5 (11-9)
Pine View 4-5 (7-9)
Snow Canyon 3-6 (10-10)
Dixie 2-7 (6-12)

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

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