ST. GEORGE — After losing back-to-back games last week, the Cedar Reds traveled south to take on the Pine View Panthers. The Panthers got two wins last week and were playing really well. The two teams were also tied in the standings for second place so it was a big game for both sides.
The game was close throughout, with Pine View up three at the half, but the two teams finished regulation tied at 57. In overtime, the Reds jumped out to a quick lead and continued to roll on their way to a 73-69 overtime win on the road.
“We came out, we played hard. We can go a little deeper into our bench when we have Dallin (Grant) and we came up with some big shots,” Cedar head coach Mark Esplin said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t win it in regulation, had to go to overtime. Usually, the first team to score in regulation wins, we got out five and we were able to hold on.”
For the Panthers, head coach Ryan Eves said his team’s lack of toughness is what hurt them the most.
“Our goal was just to be better defensively and not let them get out and run, they still scored 73 points,” Eves said. “Granted, they can score. They have a good team. They have guys who can score, and they went to the post on us with Grant. They were just picking their poison in the post. It’s not like they hit a ton of threes that I can think of. To give up 73 and they hit four threes, that’s a lot of points in the paint.”
While it was a low scoring game at halftime, the pace of the game was high throughout. The game was tied at 42 all heading into the fourth and the energy inside The Pit at Pine View was almost overwhelming.
Pine View went on a little bit of a slump in the fourth and had trouble hitting open shots but the continued to keep fighting. The biggest advantage Cedar had down the stretch was their size. The Reds continued to pound the ball into Armstrong and Grant down low and it was working.
Grant, who missed both games last week, looked a little bit out of sorts at times, but he was able to get some big shots down the stretch to fall.
“I didn’t quite have the same energy that I usually do, and they played without me for a week so they weren’t quite used to me coming back,” Grant said. “We figured it out and we got the win.”
With less than a minute left on the clock, Dallin Grant hit one of two free throws, and the Panthers took off in transition. Jared Koller got a layup to go as he fell to the ground, but he got back up, stole the inbound pass and got fouled on another layup attempt. He hit the first and missed the second. Cedar was not able to convert on their final possession and the game went into overtime.
We’re going to OT tied at 57. pic.twitter.com/88vc1x5PK0
— St. George News Sports (@STGnewsSports) February 5, 2020
“We got pretty much what we wanted. It’s not like we didn’t have our chances to score in a lot of different ways,” Eves said. “We’ve got to be tougher in overtime. You go into overtime in your own place and you give up 16 points in four minutes. We only gave up 15 in the fourth quarter.”
The thing that popped off the stat sheet was the balanced scoring for Cedar. They had five players in double figures, all with more than 12 points. Treyton Tebbs led all scorers with 14 for the Reds.
“The balanced attack is awesome because you can’t shut just one guy down,” Esplin said. “We’re not a one-trick pony, Dallin is our leading scorer but we’ve got kids that are averaging 10 or 12.”
This was a big win for the Reds, who were tied in the standings with Pine View for second place.
“A win like this is amazing for us because this is a group as a whole that has struggled over the last few years,” Esplin said. “They haven’t been able to win the close games, haven’t been able to win big games, so this is huge. Not only do we come in and beat a good team at their place but we end up winning it in overtime. These are the kind of games that build character and carry you on through the state tournament.”
For Pine View, they have to bounce back from the loss a little quicker at the welcome in Dixie on Thursday. The last time the two teams met, the Panthers gave up a seven-point lead in overtime to lose at Dixie.
“Going into this week, I’ve been excited,” Eves said. “I’m bummed right now, obviously, but bring Dixie on. Come back in, and we’ve got to be tougher down the stretch. It’s going to be a close game. Who knows, it could come down to a possession or two.”
As the Reds went into the locker room after the overtime victory, their whole team began to chant, “In-N-Out, In-N-Out, In-N-Out.”
“They think they win so they think they can go to In-N-Out,” Esplin said. “Some of us are kind of getting old and want to get home so we can get up and go to work in the morning.”
Dallin Grant said they don’t go to In-N-Out every time they are in St. George, but Pine View is awfully close to the one in Washington. There was a school bus parked at the In-N-Out after the game, so maybe the Reds got their celebratory dinner.
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