ST. GEORGE — Three of the four Region 9 teams that made it to the quarterfinals round of the Class 4A state girls basketball tournament advanced on to the semifinals.
Cedar took down Logan with ease to start the night, Pine View upset No.2 Ridgeline and Desert Hills took down region foe Snow Canyon. The first game of the day Friday will be Cedar and Green Canyon at 2:30 p.m., followed by Desert Hills and Pine View at 4:10 p.m.
No. 1 Cedar 65, No. 8 Logan 39
The top ranked Cedar Reds beat Logan handily after a late second-half push that extended the lead to 20 points. Cedar was up by 13 with three minutes left in the second quarter, but the Grizzlies cut the lead to just eight at halftime.
One thing that stood out was Cedar’s scoring balance. It’s something they’ve shown all year, and it is what makes them the top ranked team in Class 4A.
Japrix Weaver led the team with 17 points, but Mayci Torgerson, Sam Johnston and Logann Laws all had 12 or more points.
“We don’t have one star, we have five,” Cedar head coach Corry Nielsen said of his team’s depth. “That’s the thing about our team – you may be able to stop one of us for a game, but we’ve got three or four others who are going to keep coming at you. That was tremendous.”
In the third quarter the Reds went cold, and Logan took advantage by making a run that brought the Reds lead to just six points. Cedar quickly recovered and pushed the lead back to 10, and they never looked back. They outscored Logan in the fourth quarter 26-10 and pulled away late.
Their defense was the biggest difference as they locked in down the stretch.
“At some point our pressure is going to pay off,” Nielsen said of their defense. “Our defensive goal is to hold team’s under 35 points. Do we always get that? No, but on the season we average giving up 37 points a game against very good teams in our region. We understand that shots aren’t always going to go in, but we scored off our defense and we just made plays.”
As for Logan’s best player, Amber Kartchner, who has committed to BYU as a junior, the Reds held her to 16 points. That may seem like a lot, but she had to shoot 18 shots to get there while shooting just 33%. Kartchner was the main focus of the Reds’ defense.
“That was our game plan,” Nielsen said of their defense of Kartchner. “They don’t always go how you want them to go, but sometimes they do. She’s a tremendous player, but our whole thing was, we were playing five on one, and if those others can do something then we’ll take those consequences.”
Reds won by a final score of 65-39 and move on to face No. 5 Green Canyon at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
No. 7 Pine View 52, No. 2 Ridgeline 51
This matchup was a tight one with the game being tied at nine after the first quarter and Ridgeline holding on to a three-point lead at half. The Panthers were up by eight toward the start of the fourth, but Ridgeline cut it to four with under four minutes remaining, and the game stayed close.
Eventually it turned into a fouling game, and Pine View was able to knock down their free throws late. Alyson Schmitt and Alex Olson hit a number of clutch free throws down the stretch that got Pine View the win.
Ellie Wilson had a couple key 3-pointers for the Panthers and finished with 13 points to lead the team. Alex Olson added 11 points, while Averi Papa and Alyson Schmitt added 10 points each. Papa had a double double with 12 rebounds, while Schmitt almost had one with nine rebounds.
“I’m dang proud of these girls regardless of a seven seed, regardless of no experience before for any of them in a state tournament, they prepared their tails off,” Panthers head coach Ben Luce said. “That was as thorough of a team win as we’ve had this year.”
The biggest problem the Panthers had was their turnovers. They had eight in the first half but finished with a total of 17. While having eight turnovers and allowing Ridgeline to score seven points off those turnovers the Panthers had 11 points off eight Ridgeline turnovers to make up for it.
The Panthers have been improving steadily with regards to turnovers during the last couple of games, but this game was a relapse of sorts.
“Twelve (turnovers) has been about the goal, and the last three or four games we’ve been around 13,” Luce said. “We’ve gotten a lot better, and the turnovers tonight didn’t produce breakaway layups for them. We were still able to get back. The number doesn’t reflect how much we’ve improved. To win games tomorrow and the next day we’ve got to do a better job.”
After the game Averi Papa mentioned how much they have improved and talked about how much running they have done in practice as a result of their old turnover habit.
Ridgeline made it to the Class 4A championship game last season where they lost to Cedar, and they did not lose much from that team. It’s fair to say that Pine View was the underdog, but their rank did not necessarily show their talent as a team.
When asked about the moment they thought they could win the game, Luce responded, “as soon as we got on the bus this morning.”
That confidence showed, and now the Panthers will advance on to the semifinals to take on another Region 9 team in Desert Hills. With that being said, a Region 9 team is guaranteed to make the championship game on Saturday morning at 11 a.m.
No. 3 Desert Hills 56, No. 6 Snow Canyon 45
The Thunder started off hot out of the gates with great shooting from beyond the arc to take an eight-point lead after the first quarter and an eight-point lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Snow Canyon made a big cut into the lead, only being down three, but Desert Hills responded. The Thunder pushed the lead back to seven. At the end of the third the Warriors were only down six, but the fourth quarter is when the Thunder got some separation.
The lead extended to 14, and it stayed in double figures through the rest of the game.
“I though that they made some adjustments, and we kind of struggled with it a little bit,” Thunder head coach Ron Denos said. “We kind of lost some aggression as the game went on especially, and I give them (Snow Canyon) credit. They stuck in there and played hard.”
A big stat for the Thunder was their assists. They had nine in the first half and shared the ball extremely well. Denos said that sharing the ball was a big focal point going into this game with some more attention on Kami Bliss.
Sydney Peisley finished with a game high 19 points, including five 3-pointers. Kami Bliss added 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Julia Jacobsen had 10 points.
For the Warriors, they seemed to be within reach of the Thunder for most of the game, but they just could not get over that hump. Rachel Durante had a big night with 12 points to lead the team, while Tylei Jensen added 1o points and Hallie Remund had nine points.
“Our game plan was to come in and take away the post,” Snow Canyon Dan Roden said. “That’s what they killed us on the last two times, and I thought for the most part we did a good job. Overall we wanted to force them to shoot outside, and when Sydney Peisley goes five for six from the three-point line they’re very tough to beat.”
Now the Thunder move on to play Pine View for a third time this season.
After Pine View beat Ridgeline, they sounded hungry for another chance at Desert Hills after they lost to them twice in tight games. The first meeting went into double overtime while the second one came down to the wire.
“I know they want us bad; they’re asking for us,” Denos said of Pine View. “That’s all they wanted so, if they want us, then here we are. If someone wants to play us, then they’re just another team in our way. I think it’s going to be another battle. We just have to come ready to play tomorrow.”
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.