Region 9 girls basketball: Other than Lady Reds, playoff picture won’t be clear until final games are played

ST. GEORGE — The playoff picture for the Region 9 girls became only a tiny bit clearer, as Desert Hills moved into sole possession of second place with one game remaining thanks to their victory at Dixie Tuesday night. Pine View defeated Hurricane at home to move a half-game ahead of Snow Canyon, which wrapped up its regular season with a loss at Cedar.

Undefeated Cedar is assured of the No. 1 playoff seed from Region 9, but the other three spots are still up for grabs on Valentine’s Day. In Thursday night’s finale, Pine View (5-6) plays at Desert Hills (7-4), Dixie (6-5) plays at Canyon View (1-10) and Cedar (11-0) plays at Hurricane (4-7). Snow Canyon, which has a bye Thursday, finished its season 5-7. The teams with the top four records will advance to the 4A state playoffs.

Cedar 60, Snow Canyon 33

At Cedar, the undefeated Lady Reds won their 20th straight game, a convincing win over the Snow Canyon Lady Warriors.

The score was tied 10-10 midway through the first period, as both Snow Canyon and Cedar had traded shots, including a pair of 3-pointers each. Cedar’s only two 12th-graders, Ashley Davis and Kaila Gleave, both started on senior night and made solid contributions during the first quarter, as well as in the second half.

Cedar went on an 11-0 run to close out the first quarter with a 21-10 lead. The Lady Reds continued to shoot well from outside during the second quarter, with Samantha Johnston swishing three of her four 3-pointers during that span.

“The bottom line is we got into a shooting contest with a team that shoots better than we do,” Snow Canyon head coach Ryan Rarick said. ”We were able to keep pace with them for a little bit, but our consistency dropped and theirs stayed.”

Cedar’s Japrix Weaver takes a shot inside against Snow Canyon, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 12, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Cedar, which led 37-18 at the half, continued to push its lead even higher throughout the second half, eventually winning by 27 points.

Guard Mayci Torgerson led Cedar with 16 points, while Johnston and Logann Laws each added 14.

“We’ve had a tough stretch ever since Pine View lit us up for 80 points,” Rarick said. “We’ve lost three winnable games in a row by single digits, and then tonight we ran into a freight train in Cedar.”

Rarick said the Lady Warriors were missing starter Lexie Leavitt, who was injured during the junior varsity game earlier Tuesday night.

“That automatically shortened our rotation a little bit, and then Tylei (Jensen), she sprained her ankle and had to come out. And I mean, she’s a gamer and she played hard the rest of the time, but she was still limited a little bit.”

Cedar head coach Corry Nielsen said one of his team’s main goals Tuesday was to limit the point production of Jensen and Snow Canyon’s other starting guard Olivia Harris.

“Their two starting guards average 29 points between two of them,” Nielsen said. “Tonight they had 12, and that was a point of emphasis, to control those two guards, who are very good players.”

Jensen ended up with 9 points while Harris scored 3, less than half of their respective scoring averages of 18.2 and 10.1. Rachel Durante led the Warriors with 11 points.

In addition to being pleased with his team’s defense, Nielsen had praise for Laws’ ability to push the ball up the floor. “I thought we transitioned really well tonight, and Logann did extremely well on the ball. She made some good passes.”

Cedar (11-0) will close out its regular season Thursday night at Hurricane. Meanwhile, Snow Canyon has a bye on Thursday. The Warriors finish their season with a 5-7 record, but still have a chance of finishing in a tie for fourth place, depending on whether Pine View loses to Desert Hills.

— Written by Jeff Richards

Desert Hills 59, Dixie 53

In a back-and-forth battle, the Desert Hills Thunder edged the Dixie Flyers on Tuesday night.

Dixie’s Sina Tapasa goes up for the shot as the Thunder’s Katelyn Philips goes to the floor, St. George, Utah, Feb. 12, 2019 | Photo by David Larson, St. George News

Dixie led by three after one quarter, but Desert Hills cut the lead to one at the half, trailing 24-23.

The two teams continued to battle in the second half and were tied at 40 heading into the fourth quarter.with the Thunder taking a slim two-point lead after the third quarter before outscoring the Flyers by four in the final period to seal the six-point win.

Desert Hills were led by a game-high 17 points from Katelyn Philips. Kellie Nance added 14 in the win.

Dixie’s Enid Vaifanua hit three 3-pointers and three field goals on her way to 15 points, while Sina Tapasa scored 12.

The Thunder will now close the regular season at home against Pine View on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The Flyers travel to Cedar City to play Canyon View on Thursday at 7 p.m.

— Written by Spencer Rodak

Pine View 51, Hurricane 46

For the third straight game and fifth time in the last six, the Pine View Panthers found a way to win, moving into fourth place and the final Region 9 playoff spot with one game remaining.

Pine View’s Sophia Jensen drives through the lane and puts up a circus shot, St. George, Utah, Feb. 12, 2019 | Photo by David Larson, St. George News

Pine View took a four-point lead after one quarter before locking down Hurricane in the second, outscoring the Tigers 13-5 to take a 12-point lead into halftime.

Hurricane made a valiant effort for a comeback in the second half, outscoring Pine View by three points in the third and by four in the final quarter, but ultimately the deficit was to much to overcome, with the Panthers holding on for the victory.

The Tigers (4-7) were led by Hailey Homer, who scored 12 points, and Madi Hirschi chipped in 10.

Hurricane hosts first-place and undefeated Cedar on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Pine View was led by Sophie Jensen, who dropped a game-high 20 points. Pine View will play at Desert Hills on Thursday at 7 p.m. With a victory, the Panthers will clinch a spot in the upcoming 4A state playoffs.

— Written by Spencer Rodak

Region 9 standings
Cedar 11-0 (20-0)
Desert Hills 7-4 (12-7)
Dixie 6-5 (12-9)
Pine View 5-6 (7-11)
Snow Canyon 5-7 (8-15)
Hurricane 4-7 (8-13)
Canyon View 1-10 (6-15)

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