Region 9 basketball recap: Thunder are the queens of the Desert Hills Holiday Classic

ST. GEORGE — Region 9 teams went 4-5 in Saturday’s basketball action. Girls teams went 3-3 while Dixie claimed the only win in three boys contests.

Here are the scores from the region’s games on Saturday:


Desert Hills 45, Richfield 36

The Thunder swept their home tournament, downing 3A Richfield 45-36 on Saturday after doubling up Salem Hills 60-30 on Thursday in the Desert Hills Holiday Classic.

Richfield at Desert Hills basketball, Desert Hills Holiday Classic, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2020 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Desert Hills got off to a slow start, trailing the Wildcats 21-17 at the half. But following the first quarter, the Thunder allowed no more than 9 points in a single frame while the offense woke up, spreading out a lead of up to eight points early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats wouldn’t go away, however. They closed the gap to 36-37 with just under four minutes remaining in the game.

The Thunder hit a jumper down the right side on the next possession, got a defensive rebound and then put in another two points to spread it out yet again. Desert Hills did not allow Richfield to score after they hit the free throw for point number 36 across several possessions in the final three and a half minutes of the game.

“We wore them down a little bit,” Desert Hills head coach Ron Denos said of the last few minutes. “Our defense got after them. We had a little more depth.”

Enid Vaifanua led the way offensively for the Thunder, knocking down the team’s only three and posting 13 points. Julia Jacobsen also posted 10.

The Thunder play next on Dec. 10 at Jordan.

Salem Hills 53, Snow Canyon 33

A rocky first quarter spelled doom for the Warriors at Desert Hills against Salem Hills. Snow Canyon did not land a field goal until they finally converted low in the post — a minute into the second quarter. Snow Canyon scored 4 points in the first quarter, all on free throws, while yielding 16.

Snow Canyon basketball vs. Salem Hills, Desert Hills Holiday Classic, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2020 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

In response to Staheli’s score, Salem Hills hit three straight from the perimeter to build the difference up. The Skyhawks proved once again to be a huge threat from downtown, as Macklyn Mortensen hit six of the team’s 10 in the game, her second straight game scoring 18 points from beyond the arc.

Once Snow Canyon settled in, the game was much more evenly contested, as they scored 29 points in the final three frames to Salem Hills’ 37. In the final half Snow Canyon only scored one fewer point, 18-17.

Head coach Dan Roden said it’s just a process of figuring out what the team’s identity will be going forward.

“We’re putting girls in spots they haven’t been in before, as far as starters, rotation and expectations to score, things like that,” he said. “We’re trying to do new things to try to help them be successful. It’s taking some time.”

McKenna Staheli hit two of the Warriors’ three field goals from the perimeter. Taylen Whitehead led the team with eight points, including three of the team’s scoring free throws in the first quarter.

Pine View 53, Uintah 49

At Uintah, Pine View held off a second-half comeback attempt by the home team to secure the team’s second straight close win. The Panther defense held Uintah to just 16 points in the first half, topping that mark by two in the first quarter alone. With an 11 point lead at the half, they earned some more security by posting 20 in the third quarter. But they were outscored 19-6 in the last frame, as the Utes forced the game into a two-possession contest before time expired.

Alex Olson scored 23 and Averi Papa added 16. Olsen knocked down five of the team’s 10 from the perimeter. It was the second straight game the Panthers won by fewer than 5 points, beating Sky View the day before, 47-44.

Orem 45, Dixie 29

A tired Flyers roster ended a brutal three-day stretch 1-2, playing a tough 6A Fremont team on Friday and 5A Orem on Saturday. Dixie was outsized, allowing Orem to control the game defensively. The Flyers did not score in the first half and posted only 12 points across the middle frames. They scored 17 in the fourth quarter against mostly backup players.

Katie Mills hit on a trio of 3-pointers to give her a Dixie-leading 11 points. Only Addy Shaffer, who scored 8, contributed more than 5 points to the cause.

“We were absolutely gassed,” Dixie head coach Ryan Forsey said. “These last three days were great for seeing what it takes to play at a high level.”

Dixie rests and rejuvenates for a week and a half before taking on Enterprise on Dec. 15.

Canyon View 55, Draper APA 22

Stellar defense gave Canyon View a run-away victory over 2A Draper at Delta High School. The Eagles never scored more than seven points in a quarter and watched as the Falcons secured 39 rebounds and stole the ball 15 times.

Addison Newman led Canyon View with 21 points, seven assists and six steals and tied for the rebounds lead with six. Harlee Nicole also added 10 points.

Mountain Range 50, Crimson Cliffs 46

At Mountain Range, the Mustangs’ comeback efforts came up just short. They entered the fourth quarter down by seven and rallied for nine points while holding the Sentinels to six. They came up just short on a 3-pointer with four seconds left to keep the game at two possessions and seal the loss.

Crimson got down early, scoring on only two field goals in the first quarter.

Scoring leader Riann Gines tallied 11 of her 14 points in the second half and six in the final quarter.

The Mustangs pushed up against the lead several times but never got over the hump.

They play at Enterprise on Wednesday.


Gunnison Valley 54, Canyon View 42

Gunnison Valley stunted the Falcons’ offense in the second half, holding them to just 14 points. Canyon View fell behind after entering the third quarter with a small, 28-27 lead.

After a thrilling overtime win on Friday, the Falcons fall to 1-2. Having competed for three straight days, they’ll take a week off before hosting Kearns on Dec. 12.

Cyprus 71, Snow Canyon 64

At Cyprus, the Pirates slowly inched away from Snow Canyon, winning every quarter save for a 22-22 tie in the fourth. However, they never outscored the Warriors by more than three in any individual frame.

Sophomore Lyman Simmons stood large, even for his 6-foot-8-inch frame. He went 12-for-18 from the field to produce 32 points, half of the Warriors’ scoring effort, and tallied 12 rebounds, 10 in the defensive end. He was 3-for-4 on 3-pointers.

Blake Munson contributed 14 points and added three assists.

It’s Snow Canyon’s first loss of the season. It plays Kanab on Thursday at home.

Dixie 74, South Sevier 35

Three players scored more than 14 points as the Flyers lived up to their name, running and gunning their way to a blowout at Snow College in the Central Utah Preview.

Dixie was well into the third quarter and already had 46 points before Ethan Bennett scored the team’s first 3-pointer. It added only one more from deep, by Grant Carter.

Bennett’s 15 points trailed Isaac Finlinson’s 23 for the team lead. Jeff Cox also added 14. Finlinson also had six rebounds and three steals.

Dixie improves to 2-0 with a combined score of 146-72. They play Weber on Dec. 10.

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