ST. GEORGE – The last night of region play Friday saw an epic comeback that ended in a double-overtime thriller, a reawakening of the defending state champ and a shootout with the playoffs on the line.
Now that’s how you end a regular season.
Desert Hills made the big comeback, beating Pine View in OT to clinch their first Region 9 title under head coach Wade Turley.
“I can’t tell you how good this feels,” Turley said. “The past four years, we’ve finished second. We had opportunities, like tonight, to grab that region title and we didn’t get it done. But tonight the kids showed resilience and heart. I’m so humbled and grateful for these coaches and kids and their attitude. It’s thrilling to experience.”
More on the DH comeback later.
Dixie, meanwhile, needed a win in the worst way. After starting the year 19-0, the Flyers had lost two out of three, including a double-digit defeat at the hands of Pine View.
But the defending state champ got up off the mat and came out swinging, jumping out early in a blowout win at Cedar.
And Hurricane seized the day, so to speak, by rallying past Snow Canyon in a game that saw 143 points and 19 made 3-pointers. The Tigers clinched a playoff spot with the win.
The bottom line is this: DH is the top seed and region champ and will host Bear River next Friday night in the first round of the playoffs. Dixie is the No. 2 seed and will host Logan Friday. Pine View, the No. 3 seed, will have to head to Draper and face Juan Diego, which tied for the Region 11 championship, but lost a coin toss. And Hurricane will traverse the state of Utah and play at first-year school Ridgeline, which is the top seed from Region 11.
One other note: Canyon View, which will rejoin Region 9 next season, beat Richfield Friday night to clinch the top seed in Region 12. The Falcons will host the winner of the Union-Park City play-in game (to be held Tuesday or Wednesday) next week in the first round of the playoffs.
Here’s a look at Friday’s extreme hoops action:
Desert Hills 74, Pine View 64 (F/2OT)
“Sometimes kids need to get their butts chewed a little, but tonight we were calm,” said Turley, whose Desert Hills team trailed by 12 at halftime. “We just explained to the team that Pine View was not going to shoot the ball as well in the second half. And then we made a couple of little defensive adjustments. I actually felt OK at halftime. We really hadn’t played very well up to that point.”
The low-key approach seemed to do wonders for the Thunder as D-Hills shaved six points off the Panther lead in the first three minutes of the second half and had cut it to a 40-37 game by the end of the quarter. It was still an uphill struggle most of the fourth quarter, but with just over a minute left in regulation, Braxton Porter stroked a 3-pointer to give Desert Hills the lead at 50-48.
Pine View’s Dylan Hendrickson tied it to force the first overtime, where the see-saw affair came down to the final seconds. With the score tied at 61-61, DH’s Logan Hokanson drove for a shot in heavy traffic with under 10 seconds to go, but it was blocked. PV’s Kade Moore scooped up the rock and sprinted past half court. With the clock expiring, Moore heaved a 25-footer that rolled around the rim and fell in for what appeared to be the game-winning basket.
But hold everything … the officials had granted Pine View coach Ryan Eves a timeout before Moore’s desperation fling and the basket was waved off.
“I’m thinking, ‘Oh no, we just lost,'” Turley said. “But then I saw the officials conferencing. I thought they were trying to decide if he got the shot off in time, but then one official came to me and said, ‘No, he called a timeout.’ It was quite an incredible sequence.”
Pine View’s second try at winning it was unsuccessful, sending the game into a second overtime. And that second extra frame was all Desert Hills as the Thunder outscored Pine View 13-3 in the four-minute period.
Desert Hills scored the first 11 points of the second OT, nine of those coming on 10 free throw attempts.
“We jumped out early in that second OT and then just made our free throws after that,” Turley said. “I think I got 50 gray hairs tonight. I thought the win over Dixie (last week) was as good as it gets, but tonight might have even topped it.”
Pine View had hit six 3-pointers in the first half of the game to forge that 30-18 advantage. Most of the deep balls came when the Thunder doubled down on Panther center Trey Farrer. The big man was able to quickly pass out of the double-teams and hit teammates like Moore and Kyler Vaka. Moore finished with five 3-pointers in the game, while Vaka had two in the first quarter.
“At the beginning of the game, our kids were kind of amped up and out of synch,” Turley said. “Pine View came in ready to roll and kind of took it to us in the first half. They really did a good job of passing out of the double-teams and their kids hit shots.”
Hokanson was one of the comeback heroes for Desert Hills. He had 22 points and hit some huge baskets in overtime, including a critical three-point play in the first extra period. He also made a living at the free throw line, hitting 7 of 8. In fact, the whole Thunder team was lights out at the line, converting 19 of 24 (79 percent), including 11 of 12 in the two overtimes.
Tanner Turley made 3 of 4 freebies and had 13 points and eight assists. Cam Clayton hit all four of his free shots and had 12 points. Jacob Mathews was 5 of 6 from the line and had 10 points (as well as 10 rebounds). And Tyler Marz played some critical minutes off the bench and had nine points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
For Pine View, only four players scored, with Hendrickson racking up 22 points (with nine rebounds and two steals). Farrer had 19 points, 13 rebounds and an astounding six assists from the center position. Moore scored 15 on those five 3-pointers and Vaka had eight points.
Desert Hills, 19-4 overall and a region-best 9-1, outrebounded Pine View 36-33 and committed just seven turnovers to PV’s 13. The Thunder host Bear River (13-9) Friday with game time likely at 7 p.m. The two teams have not met since the 2014 playoffs, where the Bears eliminated the Thunder in the first round.
Pine View, 17-5 and 7-3, will travel to Juan Diego Friday night. The Soaring Eagle, 19-3 overall, lost the coin toss Friday night after tying for the Region 11 championship with Ridgeline. The last time Pine View and Juan Diego met on the basketball court was in December of 2006 in a preseason victory for the Panthers.
Hurricane 72, Snow Canyon 71
With a playoff spot on the line for both teams, the Tigers and Warriors staged an offensive shootout that won’t soon be forgotten by either team, with Jackson Last putting together what looked like an audition tape for play at the next level.
Last had 32 points on 10 of 16 shooting, making four 3-pointers and eight of his 10 free throws.
“I’ve never really had a game like this one,” Last said. “The first half, I was just trying to get Josh (Parker) going. But in the second half, they started focusing on him and that opened up things for me. So I got a couple of 3s and then lanes to the hoop.”
The junior point guard made the most of his second-half opportunities, going off for nine points in the third quarter and 11 in the fourth. He saved his best for last, throwing down a one-handed dunk late in the third and then hitting two treys and making 5 of 6 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“I told Jackson that he needed to be more assertive and more offensive-minded in the second half,” Hurricane coach Todd Langston said. “I knew he could get in the lane and that would really cause problems for the defense. And then they had to respect him driving the ball, which gave him some good looks from 3.”
Even with the monster game from Last, the Tigers had their hands full with the Warriors. The teams were tied at 36-all with the 3-pointers coming fast and furious in the opening two quarters. Snow Canyon pushed out to a four-point lead in the third quarter, with Christian Sullivan doing most of the offensive damage. The senior guard, who finished with 21 points, scored 10 in the third.
Last scored the last two baskets of the third, starting with that dunk, to make it a 50-49 game with eight minutes to go. He set up the slam at the top of the key.
“I got the ball on a reversal and I gave a jab and it just kind of opened things up,” Last said. “At first, I didn’t think I was going to dunk it, but I got up there and I thought, ‘I can put this down.’ So I just dunked it. I wasn’t really thinking about it before, but once I got up there, I figured I would just throw it down.”
The game stayed tight throughout the fourth quarter. Reagan Marshall had a big three-point play late in the fourth, but Brooks Sampson gave the Warriors the lead back at 68-67 with 1:06 to play on a catch-and-shoot trey. Last, who was guarding Sampson, was screened off on the play, but got his redemption 26 seconds later by burying a baseline 3-pointer to give the Tigers the lead back.
“That was my guy that hit that 3-pointer, so I kind of felt like it was on me,” Last said. “I got an open look in the corner and I felt like I really needed to knock it down because of what happened on the other end.”
The trey made it 70-68 with 40 seconds left. Baker drew a foul at the opposite end for Snow Canyon, but hit just 1 of 2, making it 70-69 with 12 seconds to play. After a timeout, Hurricane got the ball in to Last and he hit both free throws to make it 72-69 with 11.1 seconds on the clock.
The Warriors then set up a final play, with Baker firing a contested 3-pointer that was off the mark. Kadin Hansen rebounded the miss and quickly scored a layup, but time expired as the ball went through the hoop, leaving it a one-point Hurricane win. Last was the defender on the final 3-point attempt.
“Jackson made a great defensive stand there at the end, making Baker change his shot a little bit,” Langston said. “It was a great team effort. Reagan Marshall had 10 points in the fourth quarter. Josh Parker was big in the first half and Adam Heyrend made a couple of big plays in the lane for us. I feel bad for Snow Canyon because they played a great game. Neither team deserved to lose.”
Along with Last’s 32 points, Parker finished with 17 and had five rebounds. Marshall had 12 points as the Tigers shot a blistering 52 percent from the floor (25 for 48) and 88 percent from the line (14 of 16).
For Snow Canyon, Baker and Sullivan had 21 points each, the duo combining for six treys and 8 of 10 free throws. Sampson finished with 11 and Cade Thorkelson had three 3-pointers for nine points.
The Tigers, 13-11 overall and 3-7 in region, go to Ridgeline Friday night in the first round of the 3A playoffs. The RiverHawks, 17-4 overall, are a first-year school from Cache Valley that tied for first in Region 11, but won a coin toss with Juan Diego to gain the No. 1 seed. The two teams have not met, but Ridgeline went 2-1 this year against Region 9 teams, beating Desert Hills by 12 and Snow Canyon by 23 and losing by one to Dixie in overtime.
“First time in a long time we’ve made it into the playoffs,” Marshall said. “We’re so pumped about it. It feels awesome.”
Snow Canyon ends its first season under new head coach Jamison Sorenson with a 7-14 record, 1-9 in Region 9. The Warriors are stacked with underclassmen, including Baker, Sampson, Kameron Webster, Bryson Childs, Joey Robertson, Austin Staheli and Spencer Snow, all who played significant minutes this season.
Dixie 76, Cedar 56
The Flyers were down and out, having lost two of their last three games and taking a hard fall Wednesday in a double-digit loss to Pine View. But it was impossible to tell Friday night as Dixie came out fired up and focused against the Redmen.
Sam Stewart made up for a sub-par performance against the Panthers by going off for 23 points and Richard Guymon had one of his best offensive games of the year with 20 as the Flyers led by five after one quarter (18-13), then pushed it to a 38-20 advantage by halftime.
“Richard came out of his own today,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “I think he realized that this was his last region game and he was very aggressive. I’m proud of him. He took it to them. He was the most selfish on offense that he’s been all year. But selfish in a good way. He still played team basketball, but he was just looking to score a little more.”
Cedar was able to cut the deficit to 13 early in the fourth quarter, but the Flyers pulled away behind the sharp shooting of Stewart and Kaden Elzy.
“I would have been nervous going into the playoffs if we hadn’t gotten this one,” Cuff said. “But the guys came out and played well, played hard. I think they regained some of that confidence and, of course, it helps that we now have a home playoff game. That’s huge. I fell pretty good about where we are now. This region prepares you well for the state tournament.”
Cuff also praised the play of Ty Curtis and Kannen Dye for tight defense and hustle, plus had good things to say about the Redmen.
“I thought Coach (Russ) Beck did an amazing job with his team this year,” Cuff said. “They went through a lot of adversity, but he always had them ready to play and compete. Most games they were right there until the end. This is a tough region and wins are hard to come by.”
Dixie, 21-2 overall and 8-2 in region, will host Logan next Friday in the 3A playoffs first round (game time likely 7 p.m.). The two teams met twice last year, with Dixie beating the Grizzlies by one point at the 3A Preview in Richfield, then the Flyers downing Logan by 11 in the state quarterfinals on their way to the state championship.
Cedar, 10-13 and 2-8, had a seven-game winning streak this season, but closed the year by dropping seven of its final eight contests. The toughest loss was likely the 63-59 overtime defeat at the hands of region champ Desert Hills, after leading by eight in the fourth quarter.
REGION 9 BOYS BASKETBALL FINAL STANDINGS
Desert Hills 9-1 (19-4)
Dixie 8-2 (21-2)
Pine View 7-3 (17-5)
Hurricane 3-7 (13-11)
Cedar 2-8 (10-13)
Snow Canyon 1-9 (7-14)
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