ST. GEORGE — Snow Canyon head coach Doug Meacham knows there won’t be fans in the stands to bring the energy this basketball season. The Warriors will have to make their own, and after draining their first three shots of the game from the perimeter to nearly reach double digits just under two minutes into the game Thursday night, they did just that.
Senior guards Lincoln Polatis landed two, and Walker Morrison hit another just two minutes and 44 seconds into the first quarter. This set Snow Canyon on a trajectory to an 83-48 win over 2A Kanab in the team’s home nonconference opener. The hot start set the tone, and the Warriors went on to land 18 from the 3-point line.
“That’s the goal … to create energy within your own team,” Meacham said. “If you’re able to do that as a team, you can go into a hostile place and play hard.”
Meacham said the 18 3-pointers might be a school record, adding that if not, it’s definitely close. Polatis went 7-for-10 from the perimeter, five of which came in the first quarter. Walker Morrison hit on four and Blake Munson landed three. By the time the second team came in, even they were getting in on the action, as sophomore Luke Hamlin found net down the left wing in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors shot 51% from the arc and 57% overall, capitalizing on the many opportunities they created in the the Cowboys defense. Kanab double-teamed 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Lyman Simmons all night, who still was able to reel in a pair of offensive rebounds and 10 defensive. He also went 9-for-10 on 2-pointers, including a few dunks for good measure.
Simmons’ ability to keep Kanab busy down low. plus good, smart ball movement on the outside gave Snow Canyon wide open shots all night.
“I really think we can surround Lyman with shooters and guys that make the right pass,” Meacham said. “When they make the right pass, those shots just become easier. It is exciting to have those options for guys that can make threes.”
It’s a stark improvement on Snow Canyon’s shooting from their first three games in the season, in which they landed only 31% of their 3-point attempts. Against a smaller 2A school, those opportunities for clean jumpers were more available than they will be in conference play. If they can continue to be a consistent threat from the outside and pair it with Simmons, who will continue to be a problem for teams in the post all season, the Warriors will be a challenge to defend for any team.
Polatis’ 23 points led Snow Canyon, while Simmons added 18 to his 12 rebounds. Morrison scored 14. Munson also added a double-double, scoring 12 and adding 10 assists, another highlight for Meacham.
“I’ve coached a lot of good guards, and I don’t remember the last time I had a guard get that many in a game,” he said.
Snow Canyon improved to 3-1 in preseason play. They continue Friday in the Challenge at the Cliffs tournament, taking on 2A Enterprise at Crimson Cliffs High School. Tipoff is 5 p.m.
See photo gallery at the end of this article for additional shots of the game.
Other scores from Region 9 action Thursday night are as follows.
Copper Hills 48, Cedar 41
At Copper Hills, the Cedar Reds fell behind 16-4 in the first quarter but rallied to narrow the deficit to 25-20 at halftime. However, the Grizzlies ultimately prevailed by seven.
Abby Davis and Haylee Campbell each scored 10 points for Cedar, which fell to 0-2 in preseason play.
Jordan 45, Desert Hills 39
At Jordan High in Sandy, Desert Hills led by one point at the half, 28-27. However, the Beetdiggers outscored the Thunder 9-4 during the third quarter, then held on to win by six.
Shailee Bundy led Desert Hills in scoring with 12 points.
Crimson Cliffs 73, Enterprise 52 / Crimson Cliffs 88, American Leadership 64
The Mustangs scored a collective 161 points on the day, including the program’s highest scoring game in its two seasons to improve to 4-0 in the preseason.
Hudson Hawes led the way with 22 points in the first game, and the team rallied to beat the previous best of 87 points in the second to start day one of the Challenge at the Cliffs tournament on the right foot. They play Real Salt Lake Academy in day two at 8 p.m. Friday.
Wasatch Academy 75, Dixie 62
At American Fork High School, the Flyers could not rally behind Isaac Finlinson’s 29 points and Ethan Bennett’s 20, falling to the nationally-ranked Tigers.
Wasatch Academy held the fast-paced Dixie offense to only seven points in the third quarter. It was Dixie’s first loss of the season, falling to 2-1.
Desert Hills 64, Salem Hills 51
Mason Landdeck topped 20 points for the third time to help Desert Hills improve to 3-0 on the season. The Thunder rallied back from allowing 20 points in the first quarter, trailing at the half 33-31. They held the Skyhawks to just seven points in the third quarter to take the lead, which they held through to the end.
Layton 66, Hurricane 40
The Tigers were outscored by 11 points in the first quarter and shot only 29% from the field to fall behind against Layton in the Caveman Tournament at American Fork High School.
Bubba Moore shot the highest percentage for the team at 45%, going 5-for-11. Hurricane falls to 0-2 on the season.
Copper Hills 60, Cedar 58
At Skyridge High School, the Grizzlies erased a 14-point halftime deficit to just scrape by the Reds. Copper Hills did not take the lead until the final eight seconds of the game, landing a pair of free throws after a 58-58 tie. After scoring 22 points in the first quarter alone, Cedar was held to just 21 in the entire second half, including six in the fourth quarter.
Jorgan Santana Reyes scored 19 points for Cedar, and Luke Armstrong recorded a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
St. George News / Cedar City News reporter Jeff Richards contributed to this report.
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