ST. GEORGE — The sweet sadness of senior night became a lot less sweet and a lot more sad once Pine View took the court Tuesday night, as visiting Desert Hills more than doubled up on the Panthers, 43-21, to complete a season sweep.
It seemed shocking on Jan. 11 when the Thunder, which had been winless on the season, beat Pine View to snap the Panthers’ overall seven-game winning streak and hand them their first loss in Region 9. That game triggered a reversal of fortunes, however, as it propelled Desert Hills to a 5-2 region record while Pine View has been 3-4.
The Thunder never trailed Tuesday and the only time the teams were tied was at 0-0 until Madison Clark hit a 10-foot jumper with two minutes gone in the first quarter.
Pine View got on the board a couple minutes later when senior Claire Newby banked home a jumper from a near-impossible angle along the baseline. Lei Tonga scored the only other field goal for the Panthers in the first half as Desert Hills took a 20-6 lead into the locker room.
The Thunder extended its lead to 23 by the end of the third quarter before the teams played out the string in the fourth.
Newby, the Region 9 coaches’ preseason player of the year, was held to 5 points in the game. Senior Dawn Mead led the Panthers with 6 points, all of which came in the fourth quarter, while fellow seniors Saraven Allen and Rachel Prior had 2 each.
The seniors were honored in a ceremony before the game, which is the final home game of the regular season for the Panthers.
Although the game appeared to be a walkover, Desert Hills coach Ron Denos said it wasn’t easy and that his girls played hard and effectively, adding that Pine View was not at full strength due to illness and injuries.
The Panthers could not figure out the Thunder’s zone defense. They were unable to hit from outside and when they penetrated, the defense swarmed to the shooter and made it difficult to get off good shots.
“Well, they had problems with it in the first game,” Denos said, “so we put it out there again and took advantage.”
On the offensive end, the Thunder got balanced scoring; Katelyn Philips dropped in 10 points, while Annie Frame added 9 and Jess Mathis and Jess Bills each had 8.
Pine View has been in a bit of a freefall in the Region 9 standings. Two weeks ago, the Panthers were tied at the top with Cedar High, but fell to second last week and now find themselves in third behind Hurricane High after Tuesday’s loss.
Meanwhile, the Thunder are in fourth place, just a half game behind Pine View, but just one game ahead of Snow Canyon. Dixie and Canyon View are at the bottom of the standings.
The top four teams in the region qualify for the 4A state championship tournament, with the top two earning home games in the first round against Region 12’s third- and fourth-place teams. Likewise, Region 9’s third- and fourth-place teams travel to Region 12, which is in the Logan area, to play its top two teams. First-round games will be played Feb. 23. The remainder of the tournament will be played March 1-3 at Utah Valley University.
Coming up Thursday, Desert Hills hosts Hurricane while Pine View travels to Cedar.
In other region games Tuesday, Snow Canyon bested Canyon View, and Hurricane pasted Dixie.
Region 9 standings
Cedar 7-2, 14-4
Hurricane 6-3, 11-8
Pine View 6-4, 11-5
Desert Hills 5-4, 5-12
Snow Canyon 5-5, 9-11
Dixie 2-7, 8-13
Canyon View 2-8, 5-15
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