Region 9 basketball: Desert Hills pulls off big comeback, Dixie keeps flying

ST. GEORGE — At one point trailing by 19 points, the Desert Hills Thunder rallied late to complete the comeback against 5A Payson, 69-62 at Pine View High School in the Coach Walker Classic on Friday night.

Mason Landdeck lays the ball up for Desert Hills basketball vs. Payson, Coach Walker Classic, Pine View High School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 18, 2020 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

After winning the tipoff and getting the ball to Keegan Munson in the paint for an easy layup, the Thunder jumped out to a quick lead.

Payson landed a 3-pointer on its first possession and would not trail again until 1:03 left in the fourth quarter, building a 39-28 lead at the half and a 50-31 lead in the third quarter. With 1:03 left to go in the game, Mason Landdeck drove the paint and once again dished the ball to Munson for the easy layup to make it 62-60 Desert Hills.

The Thunder held the Lions to only six points in the final quarter and only two field goals. Payson did not score for nearly five full minutes, hitting their final field goal at 5:19 and a pair of free throws at 0:31. They got big stops by way of rebounding and saw an emphatic, defining block by Justin Judkins late in the game.

In the same time span, the Thunder tallied 14 points and turned a seven-point deficit into a five-point lead.

“They kind of out-hustled us, out-executed us,” Desert Hills head coach Chris Allred said. “We were just not very good defensively. Offensively, just way too much standing. It was kind of ugly there for the first two quarters, especially. In the fourth quarter, I was pleased with our effort, just our grit. We just kept battling and fighting.”

Payson’s Sam Mitchell took advantage of a lackadaisical defense early, hitting a quartet of 3-pointers and a 2-pointer, all in the first quarter. The initial frame accounted for 16 of his game-leading 26 points. He drained additional 3-pointers in the second and third quarters and accounted for one of the Lions’ two field goals in the fourth, but was slowed down significantly to give Desert Hills a chance.

As Desert Hills became more aggressive on both sides of the court, the results began to show. They slowed the Payson offense and produced higher-quality chances for themselves, especially by way of free throws. In the second half, the Lions sent the Thunder to the line 21 times. Desert Hills missed only three of those. Landdeck went a perfect 10-for-10, Peyton Holmes went 4-for-4 and Justin Judkins and Munson each hit a pair.

Landdeck led Desert Hills again with 24 points. Munson had 17 and led the team with seven field goals.

The Thunder improve to 6-0 on the preseason. They play once more on Saturday against Spanish Fork before halting for winter break. They then have one more tuneup in non-region play on Dec. 30 to work out the kinks.

“The unfortunate thing is, when you get to region games, you can’t wait until the fourth quarter to fight,” “You got to fight for four quarters. So, hopefully we can learn from a tough win.”

Will Warner passes the ball for Snow Canyon basketball vs. Spanish Fork, Coach Walker Classic, Pine View High School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 18, 2020 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Here are the other scores from Region 9 on Friday night.


Snow Canyon 52, Spanish Fork 39

Also at Pine View High School, the Warriors survived a four-point first quarter by only allowing six. After the Dons scored 15 in the second quarter, Snow Canyon held them to only 18 in the entire second half.

Lyman Simmons accounted for all four points in the first quarter on a pair of layups and was second on the Warriors with 13 points.

The Warriors continued their affinity for the perimeter, landing nine from beyond the arc. Isaac Lyon and Lincoln Polatis went back-to-back around the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter to build a nine-point lead and reach 41 – enough to overcome Spanish Fork’s eventual 39.

Lyon hit four from the arc giving him a team-leading 16 points. Polatis hit three.

The Warriors improve to 6-1 on the preseason. They take on Manti at 10:30 on Saturday to conclude their preseason calendar.

Dixie 88, Green Canyon 56

In the nightcap at Pine View, the defending state champs did what they do, scoring more than 20 points in each quarter.

Kean Webb shoots for Dixie High basketball vs. Green Canyon, Coach Walker Classic, Pine View High School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 18, 2020 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

They jumped out to an early 8-0 lead and never trailed. Isaac Finlinson hit 10 field goals for 23 points to lead the game. Carson Forsey broke 20 points on eight from the field. It was the first time Dixie broke 80 in seven games on the preseason. As a team, they recorded 17 assists, picking apart the Wolves’ defense. They used the fastbreak to set up odd-man rushes and easy layups but also capitalized when Green Canyon overcompensated for their speed by pulling up at the arc for open 3-pointers.

“I was really proud of our guys, because one of our challenges I gave them was to share the basketball,” Dixie head coach Tyler Roberts said. “We have a lot of guys who can score, but I want to make that extra pass and get everyone involved. They’re sharing the basketball, which I’m really happy about.”

Dixie allowed Green Canyon to hang around somewhat through the first half by allowing five 3-pointers and an additional six field goals. Roberts said defense is a priority as region play looms.

“At times we were gambling a little bit,” he said. “We just needed to stay between our man and the basket. Really, just basic things. I felt that we were gambling a bit too much. And they get excited, they want to get steals, right? But most importantly we have to try to keep the ball from going into the net.”

The Flyers improve to 6-1 on the preseason. They host Lone Peak at Dixie Middle School on Saturday before breaking until conference play on Jan. 6.

Crimson Cliffs 87, Manti 70

At Crimson Cliffs, the Mustangs’ offense continued to cause problems for other teams, reaching the 80-point mark for the fourth time in seven games this season. Trei Rockhill scored 29 points on the strength of eight 3-pointers to lead the way. Brock Felder, Hudson Hawes and Jordan Eaton all reached double digits as well and Cole Sampson came up one point shy of joining them.

The Mustangs improve to 7-0 on the season, outscoring their opponents 550-422 along the way. Along with the 5-0 Desert Hills, they are the only two teams remaining without a loss on the preseason.

They host Green Canyon at noon Saturday to conclude their preseason schedule and the Coach Walker Classic.


Pine View 49, Timpanogos 39

The Panthers pulled away with 20 points in the fourth quarter at Timpanogos to secure the win. In the closely contested game, Pine View entered the half down 20-24 and the fourth quarter trailing just 29-30.

The Panthers improve to 4-0 on the preseason. They travel to Juan Diego on Saturday for their next contest.

Richfield 57, Crimson Cliffs 31

The Mustangs could not eclipse 10 points in any single quarter, while Richfield bottomed out at 11 at Sevier Valley Center. Crimson Cliffs landed only 11 of 34 field goal attempts. Riann Gines led the way, scoring 14 points and tallying three assists. No other Mustang recorded more than seven points. Brinley Meadows tabbed nine boards and one of Crimson’s two steals.

Through four games, the Mustangs are at .500. They play South Sevier on Saturday.

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