Region 9 boys basketball recap: Historic scoring leads Thunder to win in clash with Crimson

ST. GEORGE — A shootout between two of the top teams in the region and state highlighted a full night of boys basketball on Friday.

Here are recaps of the action from the second game of the Region 9 boys basketball season schedule:

Desert Hills 92, Crimson Cliffs 78

There was plenty of reason to be excited about the Crimson Cliffs matchup at Desert Hills. Two undefeated teams that both love to score were set to clash and did not disappoint.

The 78 points the Mustangs put up would have been a winning number in any of the other seven contests played in Region 9 competition up to this point in the season.

Reggie Newby shoots a 3-pointer for Desert Hills basketball against Crimson Cliffs at Desert home, St. George, Utah, Jan. 8, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Unfortunately for Crimson Cliffs, Desert Hills scored at a historic rate.

“We were able to make some shots and we had some key plays, key moments that were able to get us a lead,” Desert Hills head coach Chris Allred said. “To put up 90 in a region game, hats off. I wish we wouldn’t have given up so many but at the same time it was fun to score that many.”

What Allred didn’t know at the time of the interview was that no boys team had eclipsed 90 points in a Region 9 game since at least the 2005-06 season, the farthest back MaxPreps data goes. According to available information listed on MaxPreps, the Thunder put together the highest Region 9 scoring effort in at least recent memory.

The Thunder got double-digit scoring efforts from four players. They tallied 22 assists on 35 field goals and ran the score up despite landing just nine of 24 attempted 3-pointers

Mason Landdeck takes a shot for Desert Hills basketball against Crimson Cliffs at home, St. George, Utah, Jan. 8, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Senior Reggie Newby landed seven of those nine 3-pointers en route to a game-leading 28 points. He hit three from the arc in the fourth quarter as the Thunder kept the Mustangs from mounting any sort of comeback. He landed three additional field goals and was just as comfortable in the paint as he was from deep, going 10-for-17 from the field.

“Reggie understands the shots he needs to look for and our guards did a good job of getting the ball to him when he was open,” Allred said. “It’s one of those things where Reggie made the shot and Mason (Landdeck) and (Justin Judkins) did a good job of getting the ball to him where he could get the shots. It was just a good team effort.”

Landdeck recorded a double-double with 22 points and 10 assists despite being held pointless in the first quarter. He went 8-for-11 from the free-throw line. Keegan Munson went 7-for-8 from the field for 16 points and was two rebounds shy of another double-double for Desert Hills. Justin Judkins also scored 11 points and sophomore Parker Laurent nearly reached double digits with nine.

The Thunder held the lead for the entirety of the game except for a brief period in the first quarter. After exiting the first quarter up by just two points, Desert Hills pulled away slightly before the half but never separated themselves enough for Allred to feel comfortable.

Brock Felder passes the ball Crimson Cliffs basketball at Desert Hills, St. George, Utah, Jan. 8, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

That’s because — before Friday — Crimson Cliffs was the top offense in Region 9. Their top trio of scorers — Trei Rockhill, Hudson Hawes and Cole Samspon — seemed to be able to land 3-pointers from wherever they wanted. As a group, the Mustangs entered the game landing 46% of their shots from the arc. The big three neared 50% on 165 tries. With that much success from deep, a 10-point lead could evaporate quickly for opposing teams, Allred said.

Friday night, Rockhill, Sampson and Hawes combined for 40 points. The former two scored 16 and 19, respectively, but Hawes was held to just five points on two field goals. They weren’t their usual selves, combining for seven 3-pointers and bouncing numerous attempts off the rim. They got help from their big men in the post, however.

Sophomore Jordan Eaton recorded 18 points on nine field goals. He held his own rebounding against Desert Hills senior Keegan Munson and was successful from midrange as well. Fellow sophomore Brock Felder scored 12, all on the inside as well. The two underclassmen held their own and kept Crimson Cliffs in the game even as the other side put up an unprecedented scoring effort.

“They’re starting to get there as far as not being afraid of the moment,” Crimson Cliffs head coach Kasey Winters said of Eaton and Felder. “Most people that watch us, they don’t think they’re sophomores. They’re really helping us and we wouldn’t be in the situation we are without them.”

Crimson Cliffs basketball at Desert Hills, St. George, Utah, Jan. 8, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

The Mustangs didn’t have a bad game. Their score was the second highest in Region 9 through the first two days, they just paired it against the highest scoring output on the season and one of the best — if not the best — in recent memory for a Region 9 team.

The 2014-15 Desert Hills team appears to have been the most recent Region 9 squad to reach 90 points in a contest, topping Virgin Valley, Nevada 94-48 on Dec. 30, 2014. Other teams have gotten close, including this season’s Mustangs, who reached 88 against American Leadership Academy on Dec. 10. The last Region 9 team to hit 89 was Dixie on Dec. 12, 2015. Snow Canyon scored 89 against Canyon View in 2013, the closest a team had gotten to 90 in region play since 2005-06 before Friday. It’s a different story on the girls side, as the Cedar Lady Reds topped Crimson Cliffs 90-25 last season in Region 9 competition.

Desert Hills remains undefeated after 10 games. The Thunder next travel to Snow Canyon on Wednesday for a date with the Warriors.

Crimson Cliffs falls to 9-1. The Mustangs host the Hurricane Tigers on Wednesday.

Cedar 79, Hurricane 53

At Cedar, the Reds got off to a hot start against Hurricane, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the opening minutes. Center Dallin Grant scored the final basket of that run with a thunderous dunk off an alley-oop pass from teammate Gaige Savage.

Hurricane at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 8, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Grant ended up scoring 13 of his game-high 23 points in the opening quarter as Cedar opened up a 28-7 lead on the Tigers.

The Reds continued their offensive onslaught in the second quarter, outscoring Hurricane 19-10 to take a 47-17 halftime lead. 

“We played really well in the first half,” said Cedar head coach Mark Esplin. “We worked hard defensively. In the second half, I was disappointed. We didn’t play as well defensively and gave up too many easy shots.”

Cedar led by 37 at the end of three quarters, 67-30, but during the final quarter Hurricane outscored the Reds 23-12 to narrow Cedar’s victory margin to 26 points.

Treyton Tebbs added 15 points for Cedar, while Zab Santana added 14.

Esplin also praised the play of Savage, who finished with eight points.

“Gaige is a very good all-around player. If he’s not scoring, he’s usually the guy giving up the assists. He rebounds extremely well for us.”

Hurricane was led by Jack Reeve, who finished with 20 points.

Cedar improves to 6-2 overall, 2-0 in region. The Reds play at Dixie next Wednesday. Meanwhile, Hurricane drops to 1-8 overall, 0-2 in region play. The Tigers will play at Crimson Cliffs next Wednesday.

— written by Jeff Richards

Dixie 71, Canyon View 40

 The Flyers failed to pull away from the Falcons in the first half but did so emphatically in the third quarter, allowing only one point in the frame while scoring 18.

Dixie entered the fourth quarter up 53-25 after nearly holding Canyon View scoreless in the third. A foul with mere seconds remaining in the period sent Andrew Barnes to the line for two shots. He missed his first but bounced his second off the front of the rim to the backboard and in.

Senior Isaac Finlinson controlled the game for Dixie, scoring 29 points. Finlinson went 12-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 on 3-pointers. He also led the team with seven rebounds and six assists. Fellow senior Jeff Cox was the only other player to break into double digits for Dixie, scoring 12. Eight players scored for Dixie, seven of which scored at least four points.

On the Falcons side, senior Hayden Zobell scored 20 points of the bench, accounting for half of the team’s scoring. Also senior Brendan Greenhalgh ranked second with eight points including a pair of 3-pointers.

The Flyers improve to 8-2 and 2-0 in Region 9 play. They host Cedar on Wednesday.

Canyon View drops to 1-9 and 0-2 in league play. They travel to Pine View on Wednesday.

Snow Canyon 59, Pine View 42

A big first quarter set the tone for the Warriors, entering the first intermission with a 16-point lead.

Lyman Simmons dunks the ball for Snow Canyon basketball in its home game against Pine View, St. George, Utah, Jan. 8, 2021 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

Senior Lucca Mamone drained a 3-pointer for Pine View to start the scoring, but sophomore Lyman Simmons less than 20 seconds later to knot the game. Simmons hit a free throw a minute later to give Snow Canyon the lead that the Warriors would carry the rest of the game.

Simmons was involved in the team’s first 14 points, scoring 11 himself and assisting senior Blake Munson’s 3-pointer, passing from the left wing the width of the court to just outside the right corner. Simmons scored two of the Warriors’ five first-quarter 3-pointers and helped them to a 23-7 lead at the end of the first frame. He scored 26 points and had six rebounds.

Pine View’s defense stepped up in the second quarter, holding the Warriors to just seven points. Offensively, the Panthers mustered only nine points and failed to close the gap before the half. The teams played even in the final two frames, with Snow Canyon outscoring Pine View 29-26.

Senior Lincoln Polatis was second in scoring for Snow Canyon, landing three of five 3-point attempts and a free throw to score 10. Munson finished one point shy of double digits, as well.

For Pine View, senior Justin Hall led the way with 10 points. Sophomore Bensen Shepherd had nine and Mamone and senior Joshua Bice each had six.

The Warriors reach 1-1 in league play and improve to 8-2 overall. They host Desert Hills next.

Pine View falls to 0-2 and 1-7. The Panthers host Canyon View on Wednesday.

Update Jan. 9, noon Additional photos and video added.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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