Region 9 boys basketball’s top 4 finishers preparing to open 4A playoffs

Pine View's Connor Brooksby looks for a way through a Dixie double team, St. George, Utah, Feb. 6, 2019 | File photo by David Larson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Region 9’s top four boys basketball teams begin postseason play Friday night, with Pine View and Dixie hosting their first-round playoff games, while Hurricane and Canyon View travel north to play in Utah County.

Here’s a brief look at each of Friday’s four first-round 4A playoff games involving Region 9 schools. The Dixie vs. Lehi game begins at 6 p..m., while all of the other contests are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. All of the 4A first-round games are being staged on the home courts of the higher-seeded schools:

Pine View vs. Salem Hills
The No. 1 seeded Panthers won their first nine games of the regular season, after which they lost two out of the last three games, both of which were by two points.

Desert Hills vs. Pine View, St. George, Utah, Feb. 15, 2019 | File photo by David Larson, St. George News

One week after losing 46-44 at Canyon View on Feb. 8, Pine View dropped its season finale to Desert Hills on Feb. 15, by a score of 59-57.

Still, the Panthers finished 10-2 in the regular season (13-8 overall), giving them the Region 9 title and pairing them with a No. 4 seed in the opening round.

The Panthers’ opponent Friday night will be the Salem Hills Skyhawks, who finished 7-5 in Region 10 play, 11-12 overall. The Skyhawks lost four of their last five games; three of those losses were on the road.

Both teams have fairly potent offenses, with Pine View averaging 62 points per game during its 12 regular season games and Salem Hills averaging 65. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ defense allowed 51 points per game during region play, while the Skyhawks defense allowed 63 ppg.

Pine View’s top five scorers average a total of 49 points per game, led by Jared Sudweeks with 11.8 and Michael Moore with 10.5, followed by Taiven Shepherd (9.3), Jared Koller (9.0) and Dallin Brown (8.4).

Dixie vs. Lehi
The Dixie Flyers ended their regular season with a three-game winning streak, after dropping two games in a row in early February. Dixie finished its Region 9 schedule with a 9-3 record, 17-5 overall, earning the Flyers the No. 2 playoff seed.

Dixie will host Lehi, Region 10’s No. 3 seed in Friday night’s first round. The Dixie game is scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than the other 4A playoff games being played that night.

Lehi and Payson both finished region play with identical 8-4 records and split their two mutual games, so a coin flip was held to decide the second and third seeds. Payson won the coin toss, so the Lions will host their first-round game (see below), while Lehi will travel to face Dixie.

The Lehi Pioneers also finished their season on a strong note, winning five of their last six games, including a convincing 79-57 home win over Payson in the final regular season game on Feb. 15.

Leading Dixie’s balanced scoring attack is senior post player Hayden Cottle, who led the Flyers with 11.7 points per game while also leading the team with 4.6 rebounds per game. Three other players average around 9 ppg for the Flyers, namely Jordan Mathews (9.4), Nic Roundy (9.2) and Isaac Finlinson (8.6).

Hurricane at Payson

Hurricane’s Dax Dayley passes the ball against Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 30, 2019 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Hurricane Tigers finished the Region 9 schedule with a 7-5 record, 11-10 overall, giving them the region’s third seed and an opening-round game at Payson (8-4, 14-9), Region 10’s second seed.

The Lions lost their last two games of the regular season, including a 79-57 defeat at the hands of Lehi in the season finale on Feb. 15.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to play in the postseason, and we feel like we match up fairly well with Payson,” Hurricane head coach Todd Langston told St. George News.

“We’re hoping to play tough defense and be patient on offense” he added. “If we shoot the ball well, we like our chances. Payson shoots the 3 extremely well, so we need to make sure to push them off the 3-point line and stop their transition game.”

Two of Payson’s players, Samuel Mitchell and Logan Sorensen, each average more than three 3-pointers made per game. Sorensen’s 22.7 ppg rank him third highest among all 4A players in the state. A 6-foot-5 senior, Sorensen also leads his team in rebounds, assists and steals.

Meanwhile Bryce Thomas, a junior guard, leads Hurricane in scoring this season with 11.9 points per game. He also leads his the team in assists, steals, and 3-pointers made.

Canyon View at Orem
After losing four midseason games in a row, the Canyon View Falcons finished out by winning three of their last four games to finish 6-6 in region play, 10-12 overall. One of those wins was a 46-44 upset of previously unbeaten Pine View on Feb. 8. The Falcons then lost a close 43-40 decision to Dixie, the region’s No. 2 team, in the season finale on Feb. 15.

Canyon View vs. Dixie, St. George, Utah, Feb. 15, 2019 | File photo by David Larson, St. George News

Canyon View’s first-round playoff game Friday night is at Orem, Region 10’s top seeded team, which finished 12-0 in region play, 18-4 overall. Orem was Region 10’s top-scoring team with 77.8 ppg during region play.

Canyon View head coach Rob Potter says he believes his team can match up well against Orem and possibly pull off the upset.

“They do score a lot and they are athletic, but I feel like when we can score and make them take it out of the basket, we can contain them fairly well,” Potter said. “We need to cut down turnovers and not give them any easy runouts.”

Potter said Orem resembles the top teams of Region 9, namely Pine View, Dixie and Hurricane.

“I think we’re well-prepared. I’m happy with how we competed the last few games, so if we can stay healthy and shoot to our level of capability (40-45 percent from 3-point range), I think we stand a good chance.”

Canyon View has a trio of double-figure scorers who will likely be relied upon for the bulk of the scoring load against Orem. Forward Parker Holmes averages 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Falcons, while guards Trevor Farrow (13.0 ppg) and Mason Lyman (11.8 ppg) are also major contributors to Canyon View’s offense.

The winners of Friday’s games will advance to the 4A quarterfinals next Thursday at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

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