It’s the final week of tuneups as boys basketball gets set for the long region haul beginning Jan. 5. Three southern Utah teams started the final week of holiday tournaments on Wednesday, with Hurricane grabbing a pair of wins in Las Vegas, Desert Hills picking up a victory in Salt Lake City and Dixie dropping its first loss of the year in a game played at Riverton High School.
Here’s a look at Wednesday’s contests:
Tri-State Holiday Classic in Las Vegas
Hurricane 62, Lowry (Nev.) 59
Hurricane 63, Shadow Ridge (Nev.) 52
The senior guard scored 65 points in two games to lead the Tigers to a pair of victories to open the tournament played at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas.
In the first contest, Last just missed a triple-double, scoring 30 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out nine assists. He followed that up with a 35-point, 9-rebound, 4-assist performance against Shadow Ridge in the later game.
“It was truly an impressive performance,” Hurricane coach Todd Langston said. “Here’s the deal: people down here don’t know him and haven’t played around him. He shot the ball well, he passed the ball well and just took over at times. He’s by far the best basketball player I’ve ever coached.”
Against Lowry, the noon game, back-to-back 3-pointers by Brice Thomas and Last gave the Tigers an early 12-4 lead. The Buckaroos got the lead midway through the second quarter and it was nip-and-tuck the rest of the game.
Hurricane was able to pull out to a six-point edge several times in the second half, but Lowry rallied each time, usually behind guard Brendan Domire and center Scottie Smith. Smith’s basket in the paint with just over a minute left pulled Lowry to within 58-56.
The Tigers worked the clock down and Last was fouled with 14 seconds left. The senior swished both free throws to make it 60-56, then made two more after a Buckaroos miss to make it 62-56. Domire made a trey at the buzzer for the final margin.
Hurricane made 22 of 42 shots in the game, including 8 for 16 from 3. Last made five of those treys and also had four steals. Xayden Jackman added 10 points and four boards and the Tigers outrebounded Lowry 26-19.
Against Shadow Ridge, it was a shootout early as Last and Mustang Garin Macfarlane went back and forth. The two teams were tied at 15-15 after the first eight minutes.
Hurricane started to take over in the second period, with Last hitting three straight baskets to make it 23-20, followed by a fast-break score by Adam Heyrend. Thomas then hit a 3-pointer to make it an 11-0 Hurricane run and put the score at 28-20.
Macfarlane hit a trey and a two-pointer to pull the Mustangs within 33-30 in the third quarter, but Reagan Marshall led a 9-2 run to close the third and make it a 42-32 Tiger lead. Shadow Ridge never got closer than nine the rest of the game.
“That was a really good Shadow Ridge team, actually both teams were excellent,” Langston said. “There’s some great competition in this tournament. But we’re playing really well. I think the players are really learning what their roles are, and it really helps having Reagan Marshall back.”
Last, who leads the state of Utah in scoring (25.8 points per game), made 13 of 16 shots from the floor against the Mustangs, including three 3-pointers. Marshall chipped in 11 points and both players had four assists. Heyrend had six points and five assists.
Hurricane, 5-3, will play two games again Thursday. The Tigers have a 9:30 a.m. game against Sunrise Mountain and then will play again at 6 p.m. against an opponent yet to be determined.
Utah Autism Holiday Classic in Salt Lake City
Desert Hills 77, Roy 56
The Royals found that out Wednesday at Olympus High as D-Hills jumped out quick and were never caught in the blowout victory.
“We started the game really well and they never really made a serious run,” DH coach Wade Turley said. “It was the first game back for Tucker Peterson and we were able to get him a few minutes and Tyler Webber is really shooting the ball well.”
Peterson returned to action after missing three weeks with a broken wrist. He contributed eight points and four rebounds, while Webber continued to light up the nets with 17 points and seven rebounds. He made 3 of 6 on 3-point attempts.
“He’s one of our better shooters and he’s been working really hard to get himself open for shots,” Turley said. “He also has a good mid-range game and his defense is coming along. He usually guards the other team’s best player.”
It is the second straight blowout win after two blowout losses for Desert Hills. The Thunder shot 58 percent from the floor in the game, making 30 of 53 shots. DH also buried 14 of 15 from the line. The Thunder led 39-27 at the half and Roy never got closer than 12 in the second half.
Desert Hills, 6-2, plays Westlake at 11:30 a.m. Thursday and then has two games on Friday.
Kearns 75, Dixie 64
Majok Kuath and David Andrew would combine for six quick points for the Cougars to give them the lead and they would hold it the rest of the night.
“It seems like Kearns made everything they threw up there,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “We didn’t play great defense today, but even when we did, they still seemed to make every shot. They must have hit 80 percent in the game.”
Kuath had 20 points and David added 18 as the Cougars led 19-10 after one quarter and pushed it to 39-26 at the half.
“We’re very disappointed in our defensive effort,” Cuff said. “It seemed like we were a step slow, like we weren’t ready to step off the bus. We did travel this morning, but that’s no excuse. We just couldn’t get it going.”
Tanner Cuff had 20 points and Carson Bottema added 14, but the Flyers couldn’t shave enough points off that Kearns lead to make a game of it in the second half.
“We played pretty well in the second half,” Coach Cuff said. “We had to take some chances because we were down. We got it to six at one point, but they matched our runs every time. That’s the best Kearns team we’ve seen in the three years coming here.”
Cox, who was battling the flu, played less than half the game, but contributed eight points.
Dixie falls to 6-1 with the loss, which was not technically part of the Riverton Holiday Classic.
“The tournament starts tomorrow and we play Cyprus at 1:45 p.m.,” Coach Cuff said. “There’s a chance that we could face Kearns again, but we’d have to win a couple of games to get there. We’d love another shot at them.”
The tourney runs through Saturday.
Thursday’s Region 9 boys basketball schedule
Tri-State Classic – Hurricane vs. Sunrise Mountain, 9:30 a.m. @ Desert Oasis (Nev.)
Utah Autism Classic – Westlake vs. Desert Hills, 11:30 a.m. @ Olympus
Riverton Holiday Classic – Dixie vs. Cyprus 1:45 p.m. @ Riverton
Steve Hodson Cancer Classic – Panguitch at Cedar, 2:30 p.m.
Steve Hodson Cancer Classic – Carbon at Canyon View, 8:30 p.m.
Steve Hodson Cancer Classic – Ogden at Cedar, 8:30 p.m.
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