Region 9 girls basketball: Pine View holds off late Hurricane run in final game of region play

ST. GEORGE — The host Pine View Panthers girls’ basketball team jumped on Hurricane early, holding an 11-point lead at halftime. At one point, the lead grew to 22 but the Tigers kept fighting.

With under four minutes left, the Panthers lead got down to just six but Pine View finished strong to get the win 60-48.

Hurricane at Pine View, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 14, 2020 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News / Cedar City News

Kandalyn Hinton led all scorers with 23 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers while Alex Olson had 17 for Pine View.

“These are the kind of games we’re going to be playing for the rest of the season,” Pine View head coach Ben Luce said. “Whether we win or lose and move on to the tournament, next week is going to be like this. We kind of went cold and they hit some shots in the fourth quarter and things didn’t go as we anticipated. Despite the lack of flow of the game, we still found a way to pull it out.”

The biggest takeaway for Tigers’ head coach Shelly Thomas was their unwillingness to give up.

“A couple of them will get down and other teammates will say, ‘we’ve got this, just a couple more baskets,'” Thomas said. “I know at one point, we were down by 22 and it wasn’t looking good but if there are a few people that yell, ‘get your heads up,’ we get right back in it. We got within five or six right there, we’re getting there and we’re coming together.”

The thing that stands out about Hurricane is their press defense. They play very aggressive in the backcourt and get called for a lot of fouls, but their aggressiveness can at times fluster the other team.

Hurricane at Pine View, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 14, 2020 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News / Cedar City News

Granted, not every foul will be called but they deflect passes, cause panic and get turnovers because of it. Thomas mentioned that they are not trying to set the tone with their physicality … they just realize they are not as fast as they think and end up causing fouls.

For Pine View, the full-court pressure has been their Achilles’ heel. When they got Sophie Jensen back, it alleviated some of the pressure but they still had their problems with it. Against Hurricane, they broke the press with ease on a number of occasions. It wasn’t a perfect attack, but it was better.

“When they watch themselves on film do well with it, that’s just going to give us a little more confidence,” Luce said of their success against the full court press. “We were smart and we made smart decisions.”

With the region season being over, both coaches gave a little insight into their locker rooms and their hopes when it comes to the final playoff pairings and RPI rankings.

“I am so excited,” Thomas said of possibly playing a non-region opponent. “Before they shut off the RPI, we were looking and we thought, ‘we could go here or we could go here.’ I thought if we could play somebody that doesn’t know us and all you know is through scouting, it’s hard. If we could play a non region team, I really think that we could make it up to Weber. If we can play like we did Wednesday and tonight, why not?”

With regards to the attitude in the locker room, Thomas said that they are looking forward to more games and she sees her team is coming together and supporting each other headed into the playoffs.

For Pine View, Luce said he would prefer not to play a Region 9 team but he’ll play whoever they are paired with. He’s hoping that with Logan losing twice and the Panthers getting two wins that they will jump up to No. 7 in the final RPI rankings.

“We’re starting to work out some kinks and I think we’re getting ready to peak at the right time,” Luce said. “Girls are excited to come to practice and keep working.”

The first round of the girls’ playoffs will be played on Wednesday, with the second round being played on Saturday.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!