Region 9 boys basketball: Dixie takes title; Desert Hills, Crimson Cliffs, Cedar all tie for 2nd

The Dixie Flyers hoist the Region 9 champions trophy after defeating Pine View basketball at home, St. George, Utah, Feb. 19, 2021 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — On the last night of Region 9’s regular boys basketball season, Cedar withstood a late comeback by Desert Hills to defeat the Thunder by five, giving both teams 10-4 finishes in region play. That tied them for second place in the standings, along with Crimson Cliffs, which beat Snow Canyon. In other action Friday night, region champion Dixie defeated Pine View, while Canyon View picked up its first region win of the season, edging Hurricane by two points. Here’s a look at the action:

Cedar 70, Desert Hills 65

At Cedar, the Reds withstood a furious late comeback attempt by Desert Hills over the final few minutes of the game. 

Cedar was held to just a single field goal during the fourth period, while Desert Hills drained seven baskets during that span, all from 3-point range. Yet the Reds managed to hit just enough free throws down the stretch to stay on top and win by five, 70-65.

The game’s first quarter had been a high scoring affair, with Cedar racing to a 24-19 lead. The teams were approaching the pace they’d kept during their previous season meeting at Desert Hills, when the Thunder had prevailed 101-100 in a double overtime thriller.

Desert Hills at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 19, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Reds then outscored the Thunder 18-8 during the second period, extending their lead from five points to 15 by halftime.

Cedar maintained a double-digit lead throughout the third quarter, which ended with the Reds on top, 56-42.

Four minutes into the fourth period, Cedar still led by 15 points, 60-45, but that’s when the Thunder roared to life. In just a little over a minute, Desert Hills drained three consecutive treys during a 9-0 run that cut Cedar’s lead to six, 60-54. 

Also during that span, Cedar missed four consecutive free throws and saw starting center Dallin Grant leave the game after committing his fifth personal foul.

But then guard Ty Harrison came in and grabbed a couple key rebounds for Cedar, which once again started to make its free throws. Desert Hills managed to get as close as four points, but Cedar kept hitting just enough free throws to stay a couple possessions ahead.

Cedar ended up making 21-of-33 from the line during the contest, including 12-for-20 during the fourth quarter. In comparison, Desert Hills shot 12-of-15 free throws during the game, including 2-of-3 in the fourth.

“We missed seven free throws down the stretch,” said Cedar head coach Mark Esplin. “We’ve got to get better from the line at the end of the game.”

Esplin also praised Harrison’s play, particularly in the final minutes after he subbed in for Grant.

“Ty has been playing great,” Esplin said of Harrison. “He rebounds tremendously and jumps extremely well for his size. He made some key free throws for us at the end.”

Cedar was led in scoring by Treyton Tebbs with 17, while Zab Santana added 16 and Harrison contributed 13.

Dessert Hills was paced by Mason Landdeck, who finished with 18 points, with Peyton Holmes adding 17. The Thunder finished with 13 3-pointers as a team, with six different players hitting at least one trey.

Both teams finished 10-4 in Region 9 play, tying them with Crimson Cliffs for second place in the standings. They’ll find out their state playoff matchups when the tournament brackets and final RPI rankings are revealed Saturday morning. 

— written by Jeff Richards

Crimson Cliffs 50, Snow Canyon 42

It was Crimson’s lowest scoring game of the season, but the Mustangs ground out the win to secure its spot in the three-way tie for second place in Region 9.

The normally high-octane Mustangs seemingly got just enough against Snow Canyon’s high-caliber defense. The teams played a low-scoring affair, which has played to the advantage of the Warriors this season. However, they went cold shooting and it cost them. While they held Crimson to 36% from the field in the first half, they scored at only a 28% clip themselves.

“It was a little sloppy on both ends,” Crimson Cliffs head coach Kasey Winters said. “It looked more like a first game of the season than a 22nd game of the season, but I thought our guys did a good job.”

Snow Canyon basketball at Crimson Cliffs, Washington, Utah, Feb. 19, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Crimson pulled ahead in the first quarter, doubling up Snow Canyon 14-7 by the first horn. Snow Canyon landed only a trio of field goals and Brock Felder controlled the inside, scoring six points himself in the closing minutes of the frame while the Warriors only got two points from Isaac Lyon.

Neither team scored for the first three minutes of the second quarter before Walker Morrison landed a 3-pointer for Snow Canyon. A field goal from Lyman Simmons preceded a goaltending call on Felder off a layup from Lyon inside the three-minute mark, and the score was tied. The Mustangs didn’t score in the stanza until the 2:41 mark when Trei Rockhill swished a trey off a handoff from Felder just off-right off the top of the key. It ignited a seven-point run to end the half and put the Mustangs back out 21-14 with 16 to play.

The deficit held at seven points by the third buzzer, 31-24. Blake Munson scored six of his team-leading 16 points in the frame, five of which came in succession after a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer. Munson scored eight from the line in the game.

In the fourth, a Cole Sampson 3-pointer made the score 38-26, the biggest difference in points of the game. From there, Snow Canyon went on a 12-7 run. Morrison landed a 2- and a 3-pointer in succession, Simmons scored four and Munson landed three straight from the line over the stretch, which pulled the Warriors back within seven with 1:13 to play. They had no choice but to send Crimson to the line and try to catch up. Sampson scored four from the line and Rockhill added a 1-pointer as well to put the nail in the coffin.

Crimson finishes 10-4 in Region 9 and 18-4 overall. Their full-season record of 18-4 ties with Dixie and Desert Hills for the best in the region. The Mustangs finished tied with Cedar and Desert Hills for second place in the region standings.

Sampson scored 18 to lead Crimson with Felder close behind at 15. Rockhill had nine.

The 50 points is Crimson’s lowest mark of the season after Dixie held it to 54 on Feb. 10. Snow Canyon had not lost on the season when giving up 50 points or fewer.

“At this point of the season, you’ve just got to grind out wins,” Winters said.

Snow Canyon finishes in fifth place in region, behind the three-way tie for second. The Warriors ended with an 8-6 league record and 15-7 overall.

Canyon View 50, Hurricane 48

At Canyon View, the Falcons pulled out their first and only region win of the season, edging the Hurricane Tigers by two points, 50-48.

Hurricane at Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 19, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Hurricane had established an 11-4 lead in the game’s opening minutes, but the Falcons went on an 11-1 run to take a 15-12 lead. Hurricane got another basket before the first quarter ended with Canyon View up 15-14.

The Tigers then outscored the Falcons 14-10 in the second quarter to take a 28-25 halftime lead. The third quarter was played evenly, with each team scoring nine points.

Late in the game, Brenden Greenhalgh hit a driving left-handed layup to put the Falcons up two, after which teammate Tyler Maine got fouled and made both free throws to give Canyon View a four-point advantage. 

The Falcons then missed the front end of a one-and-one, after which Hurricane scored a basket to cut Canyon View’s lead to two. The Falcons then again missed the first of a one-and-one free throw situation, putting the ball back in Hurricane’s hands with a chance to tie or win.

“They had six seconds left and we had to get a stop,” said Canyon View head coach Robbie Potter. “They didn’t get a very good shot off as the buzzer sounded, so we earned the win with a defensive stop.”

Dennis Farrow led the Falcons with 11 points, while Hayden Zobell added 10 and Greenhalgh scored nine. The Tigers were led by Kruz Gardner’s 17 points, with Jack Reeve adding nine.

Both teams finished with identical 1-13 Region 9 records, 2-20 overall, thereby tying for seventh place in the final season standings. They’ll each find out their first-round playoff opponent when the final RPI rankings and 4A brackets are released Saturday morning.

After a tough season, the Falcons exit Region 9 on a high note. Canyon View will be dropping down to 3A starting in the fall.

— written by Jeff Richards

Dixie 74, Pine View 57

The Flyers’ star duo of Ethan Bennett and Isaac Finlinson shelled out on senior night as the team clinched its second-straight Region 9 championship. Finlinson scored 28 to lead the game and Bennett scored 16 as Dixie got at least three points from eight players, all but one of them a senior.

Pine View at Dixie, St. George, Utah, Feb. 19, 2021 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

The Panthers took an early 11-10 lead by the first buzzer as Bensen Shepherd danced through the lane and hit a toss up just before time expired. The Flyers played seniors Nick Peterson and Rushton Dye heavily in the first quarter before allowing their usual lineup to take over in the second quarter.

With their regular starters in, the Flyers took off. They went on a 14-5 run to the 3:30 mark of the second quarter and entered halftime with a 33-21 lead. It didn’t get much better for Pine View from there, as they trailed 55-40 at the start of the fourth quarter.

In true senior night fashion, Dixie’s Hunter Knighton, who missed the entire season recovering from a knee injury, took the court late in the fourth quarter. After taking the inbound, he took the ball up court and gave and received a couple of passes from the top of the key. Eventually, he let it fly from inside the Dixie logo at midcourt, banking it off the backboard and circling it into the hoop for three points and igniting pure jubilation in the Hangar.

Senior Jeff Cox was third in Dixie’s scoring with seven points.

For Pine View, Shepherd led the way with 19. Rushton Shaw scored 11 and seniors Joshua Bice scored eight, Lucca Mamone scored six and Justin Hall scored five.

Dixie claimed Region 9’s best record at 12-2 and improved to 18-4 overall. It awaits an expectedly high seeding as it prepares to defend its state title.

Pine View falls to 4-10 in league and 5-15 overall. The Panthers finished sixth in the region.

Region 9 boys basketball final regular season standings

  1. Dixie 12-2 (18-4)
  2. (tie) Desert Hills 10-4 (18-4)
  3. (tie) Crimson Cliffs 10-4 (18-4)
  4. (tie) Cedar 10-4 (15-6)
  5. Snow Canyon 8-6 (15-7)
  6. Pine View 4-10 (5-15)
  7. (tie) Hurricane 1-13 (2-20)
  8. (tie) Canyon View 1-13 (2-20)

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

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

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!