Region 9 boys basketball: Cedar, Crimson Cliffs, Desert Hills, Dixie all win big

ST. GEORGE — Region 9 boys basketball kicked off its region schedule Wednesday night with all eight teams in action. Here are recaps from the four contests as the regular season got underway.

Crimson Cliffs 63, Pine View 46

The dynamic trio of long-range shooters did what they do to help Crimson Cliffs pull away from Pine View in the third quarter at home.

After a slow start, seniors Trei Rockhill and Cole Sampson and junior Hudson Hawes got hot from beyond the arc and made it impossible for Pine View to keep up. The trio combined for 11 3-pointers, all coming after the first quarter. Six of the field goals from beyond the arc came in a decisive third quarter that saw the Mustangs pull away for good.

Rockhill and Hawes each recorded 18 points to lead the game, and Sampson had 17.

“When we’re moving the ball, it’s tough to stop us when we take an open shot,” Crimson Cliffs head coach Kasey Winters said. “We’ve got some guys that put a lot of time in in spring, summer in the gym taking shots. If they’re open, they’re going to knock it down.”

Lucca Mamone (left) and Brock Felder (right) leap for tipoff in Pine View basketball game at Crimson Cliffs, Washington City, Utah, Jan. 6, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Hawes ignited the offense early in the second quarter, draining a trio from beyond the arc over the course of the stanza to help Crimson to a three-point lead at the half. It helped that Crimson had already reached the double bonus before the quarter started, meaning the Panthers defense could not maintain its aggression.

Once Pine View’s defense had to start spreading out to cover the deep ball in the third quarter, Crimson moved the ball and created new opportunities for Rockhill and Sampson, and the shooting gallery was open. There are few, if any, teams in Region 9 that can keep up with Crimson Cliffs from the perimeter. Pine View could not on Wednesday night.

The Panthers exited the first quarter with a slim 11-10 lead, playing foul-heavy but firm defense and preventing Crimson’s shooters from getting comfortable and free. They held the Mustangs to only three field goals in the first frame but gave them nine free throws, of which Crimson made four. Josh Bice took early control of the game for Pine View, scoring its first six points from down low.

Bice tied with Bensen Shepherd with 12 points to lead the team.

Pine View hung with Crimson through the second quarter, entering the half down 31-28. A pair of 3-balls from Rushton Shaw in the second helped, and he scored 11 on the day. Shepherd scored five points in the quarter with a field goal and three free throws. The defense held back Crimson for the most part, and the Panthers were in the game before it slipped away in the second half. Pine View head coach Ryan Eves said his team played a good half every game they’ve played but haven’t been able to put a full four quarters together.

Trei Rockhill shoots a 3-pointer for Crimson Cliffs basketball against Pine View at home, Washington City, Utah, Jan. 6, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

“We lose our focus. We lose our composure,” Eves said. “So if we can fix that, we’re not a bad basketball team.”

Crimson Cliffs maintains its perfect record through nine games. The Mustangs travel to Desert Hills on Friday for a heavyweight matchup between two of Region 9’s favorites.

Pine View, which dropped to 1-6 overall, next hosts Snow Canyon on Friday.

Dixie 73, Hurricane 37

The Dixie Flyers used a quick transition game to adjust to a strong defensive effort from Hurricane early on its home court and pull away from the Tigers.

The defending state champion Dixie was the heavy favorite entering the game, but the Tigers held it to just four field goals and a free throw for 10 points in the first frame. They gave up a wide-open 3-pointer to Ethan Bennett on the first possession but settled down over the next 7 1/2 minutes. However, they only got four points of their own to match the defensive effort, struggling to find open looks of their own. The Tigers entered the first intermission still trailing by six despite a solid effort.

The Flyers then began to execute better, posting at least 19 points in each of the final three quarters. Bennett scored 10 of his game-leading 18 points in the second quarter as Dixie stretched its lead out to 17 points at the half, 29-12.

“We really just tried to push it and run our motion offense,” Dixie head coach Tyler Roberts said. “We need to be a little more patient.”

Roberts credited senior Nick Peterson with providing a spark for a team that came out slow in its first game since Dec. 19. Peterson recorded 10 points in the game and landed all three of his shots from beyond the arc.

Isaac Finlinson scored 16 points and Alessio DeHart scored 12. Jeff Cox recorded nine rebounds, six in his backcourt. Bennett paired his team-leading scoring with five rebounds and five steals.

The Tigers topped out at 15 in the fourth quarter in garbage time. Dixie held Bubba Moore scoreless and Luke Wright did not play, knocking two integral pieces from the Hurricane rotation.

Kruz Gardner and Kevin Bunn both scored eight points to lead Hurricane. Gardner also recorded a team-high eight rebounds.

Dixie improves to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in Region 9 play. The Flyers host Canyon View on Friday at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, Hurricane falls to 1-8. The Tigers will travel to Cedar City on Friday to take on the Reds, also at 7 p.m.

Cedar 65, Snow Canyon 51

At Cedar High School, the Reds made a big offensive push in the fourth quarter to pull away from Snow Canyon for a 65-51 home victory.

At the beginning of the game, Cedar got an early jump on the Warriors, taking an 18-7 lead after one quarter, but the Warriors turned the tables during the second period, going on a 17-7 run to get within one point at halftime.

Gaige Savage of Cedar goes in for a layup, Snow Canyon at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 6, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Reds, who led 25-24 at the start of the third quarter, then went on a 9-0 run to push their lead to 10 points. However, Snow Canyon immediately responded with a 7-0 run that brought the Warriors back within striking distance. Lincoln Polatis, who finished with 14 points, drained a 3-pointer in the third quarter and two more in the fourth for the Warriors.

Cedar held a slim 41-39 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the Reds outscored the Warriors 24-12 over the last eight minutes. Gaige Savage, Treyton Tebbs and Ty Harrison all swished 3-point shots down the stretch as Cedar pulled away. 

Savage finished with a game-high 20 points, while Tebbs, Harrison and Dallin Grant each added 10. 

“Gaige had his best all-around game,” Cedar head coach Mark Esplin said. “Everybody always looks at scoring. And tonight it was his turn to score. But I believe we have seven or eight guys that can go get 15 to 20 points. They can all shoot the ball extremely well.”

Esplin also praised his team’s defensive play, particularly that of senior center Dallin Grant.

“I think one of the big keys in the fourth quarter is Luke Armstrong got some foul trouble, and we switched from Luke guarding Lyman (Simmons), and then we put Dallin on him,” he said. “I thought Dallin may have had his best all-around game that he’s had maybe, in his four years here.”

Simmons finished with a team-high 18 points for the Warriors but was held to just two free throws during the final period.

“Lyman’s a very fine inside player. He scored 22 twice against us last year, so it was nice to see Dallin play at both ends,” Esplin added.

He said Wednesday’s contest marked the first time the entire team had managed to be together for a game this season, whether from COVID-19, injuries or the holiday break.

“We finally have everybody, and to me it’s a problem,” he said. “There’s not enough playing time for all of them. They all deserve playing time. It’s nice to have that problem, though, because they’re all really good. I believe we have nine kids that deserve to start. They step on the floor and can score and contribute every game, but they will only let us play with five.”

Cedar improved to 6-2 overall with the win, while Snow Canyon dropped to 7-2 with the loss. Both teams will next play on Friday night, with the Reds hosting Hurricane and the Warriors playing at Pine View.

— written by Jeff Richards

Desert Hills 61, Canyon View 45

At Canyon View, the Desert Hills Thunder pulled away in the second half to pick up a 61-45 victory on the road.

The Thunder outscored the Falcons 12-5 during the first quarter, with guard Mason Landdeck hitting a pair of 3-pointers, including the first basket of the game. 

Desert Hills at Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 6, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Canyon View managed to stay within reach during the second quarter, going into the halftime break trailing only by five points. 

However, the Thunder broke the game open during the third quarter with a 21-point barrage, including 12 points by Landdeck, who went on to finish with a game-high 22 points for the night.

Also hitting double figures for Desert Hills were Keegan Munson, who scored 13, and Reggie Newby, who added 12. 

The Falcons were led by Brendan Greenhalgh’s 16 points, including four 3-pointers, while Cole Farrow added 9. 

Despite the loss, Canyon View head coach Rob Potter said he was pleased with his team’s play.

“The ending score (margin) of 16 makes it look like it was a little bit of a blowout, but I thought we played a tough game, and it was maybe a little closer than it ended up,” Potter said. “Desert Hills is very good, so to come out and compete in the first game like that gives us something to build on, to get better over the next 13 region games and into the playoffs.”

Potter added that he was really pleased with the team as a whole and how they played, singling out a couple players specifically.

“I thought Brenden Greenhalgh had a fantastic night,” he said. “I thought Jake Tom played amazing defense inside on Munson and held him to six points in the first three quarters.”

Potter said they had more solid possessions than they’ve had in a game for a while offensively.

“We just need to build on that and try to get better,” he said. “Our guards turned it over a little bit too much, but Desert Hills is very athletic. They make it tough, and you have to take care of the ball.”

Desert Hills coach Chris Allred said although he thought his team also played hard, he sees room for improvement.

“We didn’t do a very good job of finishing around the basket,” he said, adding that he was excited to get a road win, “but we definitely have areas that we need to continue to get better.”

Canyon View next plays at Dixie on Friday night, while Desert Hills hosts Crimson Cliffs.

— written by Jeff Richards

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