ST. GEORGE – Halftime of a basketball game means time for rest, perhaps a drink, and some adjustments by the coaches. We’ve reached halftime of the Region 9 boys basketball season and teams need a rest, maybe something to drink, and perhaps some big adjustments.
Teams need to adjust to Hurricane’s Jackson last, who scored 43 points – and made all 16 of his free throws attempts – in helping the Tigers win at Snow Canyon Wednesday night. Teams will need to adjust to the now red-hot Canyon View Falcons, who stunned Desert Hills on the Thunder’s own court Wednesday. And six teams need to make adjustments to try and figure out how to beat the Dixie Flyers, who routed Cedar Wednesday and finished the first half of region play with a perfect 6-0 record.
“That’s going to be a hard thing because Dixie has figured out how to win the close ones,” said Canyon View head coach Rob Potter. “There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played and we did ourselves a big favor tonight by winning at Desert Hills. But everyone is chasing Dixie.”
With Pine View taking its bye Wednesday night, now all seven region teams have played six league games. What we know is that Dixie is in the catbird’s seat at 6-0 and Desert Hills and Hurricane are in pretty good spots with 4-2 region records. Canyon View would get the fourth playoff spot if the postseason began today.
Here’s a look at Wednesday’s results:
Canyon View 55, Desert Hills 50
Potter said it best when he posted on Facebook: “I have the best job in America. Best coaching staff, best fans, best players. After starting region 0-3, we finish the first half going 3-0, including a near impossible win at The Thunderdome.”
The win for the Falcons seems even more improbable considering the way the first three quarters went for CV. Desert Hills used a 9-0 run to start the second half to race out to a 14-point lead. The Falcons got it to within 10 at 41-31 to start the fourth quarter, but getting a win after trailing by that much against the always powerful Thunder seemed too daunting a task.
“It was all about the defense in the fourth quarter for us,” Potter said. “We got a five-second count, we got some steals and we were able to exploit some of the matchups to our advantage. They’re huge, but we used our speed and skills to make plays.”
With Brantzen Blackner heating up, the Falcons were able to trim the lead to 49-45 with 2:33 left on the clock. After a basket by Blackner and a D-Hills miss, Joey Lambeth nailed a 15-foot jumper to give Canyon View its first lead of the second half at 51-50 with 54 seconds left in the game.
The Falcons got a steal and a free throw to make it 52-50, then forced another Desert Hills miss. Mason Lyman rebounded and was fouled. The junior stepped to the line and made both free throws to ice the victory with 17.4 seconds to play.
“He stepped up to the line with a smile on his face and hit two big ones,” Potter said. “The junior is really coming around. He did some really good things in the game and I’m glad he had success at the line. It was a lot of fun tonight. I got to tell the kids that they’d better be ready, because you never know whose night it’s going to be.”
Canyon View, 8-10 overall and 3-3 in region, has won three straight region games after its 0-3 start.
“To be honest, I took my three captains (Blackner, Lambeth and Toby Potter) and I called them out,” Coach Potter said. “They all agreed with me and since then, they’ve raised their level of effort, their level of play and their level of expectations. They said they didn’t want to go out this way their senior year.”
Blackner had 25 points and Toby Potter added 11 in Wednesday’s come-from-behind win. The Falcons outscored Desert Hills 24-9 in the fourth quarter.
The Thunder, 11-5 and 4-2, were led by Ryan Marz with 15 points. Tyler Webber had nine points and Tucker Peterson had seven points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Desert Hills has lost two straight after starting region play with four consecutive wins.
The Falcons are at Hurricane Friday night (HHS won their first meeting 68-59), while the Thunder are home vs. Cedar (DH won their first matchup 63-45).
Hurricane 71, Snow Canyon 63
It was a pretty epic meeting, with neither team leading by more than eight points and both teams going on extended runs during the contest. But the most epic thing about the game was the virtuoso performance by Jackson Last. The senior guard opened the game with a 3-pointer and closed the contest with seven straight free throws in the closing seconds. He did just about everything else in between.
“Like I’ve said before, he’s just an amazing player,” Hurricane coach Todd Langston said. “And he’s a joy to coach.”
Last’s three-point play on a running bank shot from the right side with 20 seconds left gave the Tigers the lead at 64-63. Snow Canyon went to the line with under five seconds to play, but missed two free throws. A foul call on the rebound of the second miss prompted a pair of technical fouls against the Warriors.
Last made all four technical free throws, then hit two more after an intentional foul a moment later. The flurry of points in the final 20 seconds capped off a night when Last practically couldn’t be stopped. He had 13 field goals and made all 16 of his free throws for his huge 43-point outing. Hurricane needed all those points as the Warriors kept the game close the whole way.
“When my teammates are struggling a little, I know I need to pick up the slack,” Last said. “No one really shot that great tonight, and it’s kind of my job on the team to pick up slack when that happens and tonight it happened to be scoring.”
A 10-0 run by Hurricane in the second quarter erased a 21-14 deficit, and the Warriors made a similar run in the third quarter to erase an eight-point deficit. Snow Canyon actually had the Tigers on the ropes in the final moments of the fourth. Two free throws by Last had cut the Snow Canyon lead to two at 63-61. Twice, SC got fouled and twice the Warriors missed both foul shots to keep it at a two-point game with under a minute to play.
After Last’s heroic and-one play with 20 seconds to go, Snow Canyon drew up what it hoped would be a winning play. But the Tigers double-teamed SC center Joey Robertson, forcing him to pass the ball. A teammate was fouled with under five seconds to go, but missed both shots.
“They had a lead on us with a couple of minutes to go, but we hung in there and kept our composure,” Langston said. “That basket by Jackson, that and-one, was a tough shot. He got hit hard and still got it up on the glass. I’m just glad we have Jackson Last.”
Robertson and Bryson Childs kept the Warriors in the game. Robertson had 20 points and made 6 of 7 free throws. Childs also had 20 points, hitting 9 of 11 free throws and sinking a 3-pointer in the second quarter.
“Tip your hat to Snow Canyon,” Langston said. “They were fighting for their lives and I thought they had us on the ropes until that incident there at the end (the two technical fouls).”
Last sat most of the second quarter as he had picked up his second personal foul with a minute to go in the first period. He still managed to score 16 in the first half. He added seven more in the third, totaling 23 points heading into the final quarter. In the fourth, Last had two three-point plays and made 12 free throws in a row.
“We feel like we let a couple of games go because we didn’t hit our free throws, so that’s something we’ve been focusing on in practice,” Last said. “I was feeling it tonight. Soft rims help, too.”
Matt Meyers came off the bench and contributed eight points for the Tigers, including a rare four-point play in the third quarter. Hurricane, 10-6 overall and 4-2 in region play, made 21 of 42 field goals and 26 of 31 free throws (84 percent).
Snow Canyon, 5-11 and 1-5, was 19 for 36 from the floor (53 percent) and made 22 of 33 free throws (67 percent). However, the Warriors hit just 6 of 14 charity shots in the decisive fourth quarter.
There were 26 fouls called on each team and each team had two players foul out.
Hurricane hosts Canyon View Friday night (HHS beat CV 68-59 last month), while Snow Canyon visits Pine View that same night (PV beat SC 69-47 in December).
Dixie 56, Cedar 37
“We knew this was our only game this week and that Cedar was a dangerous team, so the guys came out with good intensity,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “We wanted to dictate the tempo, so we put a little pressure on them and it led to some easy baskets, some lay-ins.”
Playing without Payton Wilgar (sore back), the Flyers relied on Jacob Barben and Jace Bennett.
“Barben played well, made some big plays,” Cuff said. “And Jace, he was fantastic on both ends of the floor. He got a lot of easy baskets because of his energy and his defense. We brought Jace in off the bench and he provided that spark.”
Bennett, who had never scored more than six points in a varsity game, had 16 in this one, making all seven of his field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer.
Dixie only committed one foul in the first quarter and raced out to a 17-8 edge. By halftime, Dixie had committed just two turnovers and had outrebounded Cedar 13-10 while forging a 30-15 lead on the scoreboard.
“Cedar’s a hard place to play,” Cuff said. “Having just one game this week, we wanted to put it all out there. There could have been some worry about a letdown after Friday’s win over Desert Hills, but we had one of the best practices of the season on Monday. We knew, with our leadership and our maturity, that we just had to go right at them and give them everything we had.”
With Bennett, Brody Henderson (eight points) and Tanner Cuff (eight points) hitting shots, Dixie extended its lead to 20 at 46-26 at the end of the third and coasted home from there.
Dixie was 24 for 41 from the floor (59 percent), while Cedar managed just 13 for 37 shooting (28 percent).
The Flyers, 14-3 overall and 6-0 in region, are off Friday and resume region play next Wednesday with a home game against Pine View. Cedar, which was led by Ethan Boettcher with 12 points and Alec Jacoby with seven, drops to 8-9 overall and 1-5 in region. The Redmen are at Desert Hills on Friday night.
Canyon View 55, Desert Hills 50
Hurricane 71, Snow Canyon 63
Dixie 56, Cedar 37
Region 9 Standings
Dixie 6-0, 14-3
Desert Hills 4-2, 11-5
Hurricane 4-2, 10-6
Canyon View 3-3, 8-10
Pine View 2-4, 6-9
Cedar 1-5, 8-9
Snow Canyon 1-5, 5-11
Canyon View at Hurricane
Cedar at Desert Hills
Snow Canyon at Pine View
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