4A girls basketball playoffs: Southern Utah sends three teams to quarterfinals

ST. GEORGE — The top seeds reigned dominant in the second round of the 4A girls state basketball playoffs on Friday night. Three of the five Region 9 teams represented were victorious, with Pine View, Desert Hills, and Cedar all winning at home. Those three teams, along with Friday’s other second-round winners will travel to the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield on Monday to play in the 4A quarterfinals. The tournament continues through Wednesday. Click here to see full bracket and schedule

Here are recaps from Friday night’s action.

No. 2 Desert Hills 64, No. 15 Dixie 39

The Desert Hills Thunder completed a complete sweep of their calendar at the Thunderdome, topping the Dixie Flyers 64-39 in the second round of the 4A state playoffs.

A larger, more-veteran Thunder team started slow but capitalized on the chances Dixie gave them and squashed any momentum the Flyers tried to build.

Dixie basketball at Desert Hills, 4A state tournament, St. George, Utah, Feb. 26, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

“I thought we had good scouting,” Desert Hills head coach Ron Denos said. “We saw a lot of holes and starting finding those holes.”

Dixie had its early chances but mustered only four points in the first quarter. Kealah Faumuina hit a jumper in the post to open the scoring and both teams struggled from there over the next couple of minutes, with Enid Vaifanua hitting a pair of free throws to account for the only other scoring before the five minute mark.

From there, Desert Hills started to figure out its scoring, getting field goals from Sa’de Turlington, Olivia Cluff, Julia Jacobsen and Shailee Bundy. The Thunder tallied six points over the final three minutes of the quarter, building out a 12-4 lead.

The Thunder continued their scoring in the second quarter, posting 23 points. Dixie began to find the bottom of the net as well, posting 15 to stay in the game. Addy Shaffer hit back-to-back buckets early and Katie Mills landed from the arc twice. Faumuina added a three points as well as the the Flyers entered the half with a 35-19 deficit in front of them.

As the Thunder settled in, it took control of the game of kept the Flyers from building any kind of comeback. Dixie started the second half building momentum on a 3-pointer by Emily Tauillili on the first possession, but the Thunder went on a 10-2 run from there over the next five minutes. After Faumuina hit a late bucket in the third quarter, Turlington nullified it with one of her own.

When Dixie posted seven points early in the fourth, the Thunder went on an 8-1 run. Desert Hills had a response for any positivity Dixie built.

“Good teams know how to answer, and they answered,” Dixie head coach Ryan Forsey said. “I thought we kind of backed down, got hesitant and let the moment get to us.”

Both teams were turnover prone, especially in the early going, but the difference was Desert Hills converted on those opportunities and the Flyers didn’t.

Jacobsen scored 16 to lead Desert Hills, with Bundy right behind at 15. Faumuina scored 13 to lead Dixie.

The Thunder advance to Richfield, where they will take on No. 7 Juan Diego in the quarterfinals Monday at 7:30 p.m.

The Flyers, meanwhile finished their adversity-filled season with a game in front of a hometown crowd and a lot of youth to build toward the future.

No. 8 Cedar 37, No. 9 Tooele 26

At Cedar, the Reds finally pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Tooele Buffaloes, 37-26.

Tooele at Cedar, 4A girls basketball playoffs, Cedar City, Utah. Feb. 26, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Cedar’s first two baskets of the game were both 3-pointers, as Abby Davis and Braylee Peterson each connected early in the first quarter to give the Reds a 6-0 lead.

Cedar went on to take an 11-5 lead after one quarter, but Tooele narrowed the gap to 15-12 by halftime. Cedar’s Grace Morales scored all eight of her points in the first half, including six free throws.

Early in the fourth quarter, Tooele sank a free throw to tie the game 20-20, but Cedar slowly pulled ahead again from that point on, eventually winning by 11. Emery Harrison, who scored a game-high 14 points, made multiple inside shots for the Reds late in the game. Peterson added three free throws in the fourth to finish with nine points.

Tooele was led by Madi Baker’s 12 points.

Cedar’s win advances them to Monday’s quarterfinals, where they will face the top-seeded Pine View Panthers in a rematch of last year’s 4A state championship game. Although the Reds are the two-time defending state champs, Pine View has beaten Cedar twice already this season. Monday’s rematch is scheduled to tip off at 5:50 p.m.

— written by Jeff Richards

No. 7 Juan Diego 37, No. 10 Hurricane 33

The Tigers lost the lead after a defensively dominant first half. Hurricane kept Juan Diego from scoring in the entirety of the second quarter, during which time the Tigers went from tied 11-11 to ahead 17-11 at halftime.

But Kira Rhay had different ideas for Juan Diego in the third quarter, entering with that six-point deficit. She scored all of her game-leading 14 points in the third, including three baskets from behind the arc. Juan Diego went into the third intermission with a four-point lead. The Tigers got back within two points in the final minutes but ultimately couldn’t close the gap completely.

“We played a little scared offensively but they never gave up and played until the end,” Hurricane head coach Pepper Reddish said following the loss that concluded her first season at the helm. “We had an amazing first half. We outrebounded them most of the game on both ends, just couldn’t quite finish.”

Lydia Prince led Hurricane with eight points and had four rebounds. Madison Staples had three points but six steals and 12 boards for the Tigers.

No. 1 Pine View 67, No. 17 Ogden 41

The Panthers punched their ticket to Richfield with an emphatic win over Ogden. Head coach Ben Luce started going to his bench players after the team built a 67-27 lead with more than six minutes remaining in a dominant effort.

“We ran the floor really well,” Luce said. “We kept them off the board and got some easy transition baskets. Our energy was consistent on both ends.”

Pine View built a 14-point lead by the first buzzer and never looked back, 21-7. Averi Papa scored 10 of her game-high 20 points in the first quarter. The Panthers scored 21 again in the second quarter to take a 42-18 lead into the half. Alex Olson hit a trio of 3-pointers in the second and finished with 18 points.

Pine View will play Cedar in the 4A quarterfinals on Monday at 5:50 p.m.

No. 5 Logan 60, No. 12 Canyon View 45

Although the Logan Grizzlies jumped out to an early 15-6 lead over Canyon View, the Falcons outscored Logan 18-13 during the second quarter to cut the halftime deficit to four points, 28-24.

In the third quarter, Logan began to pull away. building a double digit lead that would last them the rest of the game.

“We competed with a good team for nearly three quarters,” said Canyon View head coach Jaycee Barnhurst, who added, “I’m proud of our girls tonight. We had our chances.”

Senior and four-year starter Addison Newman led the Falcons in scoring with 18 points in her final game in a Canyon View uniform. She also had six rebounds and two assists. Harlee Nicoll added seven points and collected 10 rebounds.

— written by Jeff Richards

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

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