High school boys basketball recap: Crimson Cliffs wins big at home tournament, Cedar starts title defense

WASHINGTON — The boys basketball team at Crimson Cliffs High School hosted its Challenge of the Cliffs Tournament over the weekend and the young Mustangs got a chance to get some valuable game experience early in the season.

Crimson Cliffs against Canyon View in a non-region basketball game, Washington, UT, Dec. 11, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“For us, it’s just an opportunity for us to play at home,” Crimson Cliffs coach Kasey Winters told St. George News. “Finding quality opponents that we can come in and test ourselves with. These early games are just figuring out our strategy, little bit of everything in these early games.”

The tournament at Crimson Cliffs featured eight schools from Utah as well as Green Valley High School from Las Vegas. Winters noted that over 30 games were played over the course of the weekend at all levels (freshmen, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity).

The Mustangs got a big lead early and went on to beat Canyon View 75-53 Saturday afternoon.

“I thought we did a really good job pushing the tempo, both offensively and defensively,” Winters said. “We forced them into some turnovers that led to some easy baskets. And I thought we shared the ball better than we have at times during this early part of the year.”

Nine different Mustangs scored points in the win, led by Jackson McKone with 20 and Jordan Eaton, who scored 12. Crimson Cliffs improved to 4-2 after the win.

Crimson Cliffs against Canyon View in a non-region basketball game, Washington, UT, Dec. 11, 2021 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

Canyon View got 15 points from Xavier Kadous and Jace Farrow threw in 13 points in the defeat, which slipped the 3A Falcons to 1-5 to start the season.

“That’s a very good 4A Crimson Cliffs team in their house,” Canyon View coach Robbie Potter said. “I thought our kids did a lot of things I was happy with and that we can move forward with.”

The Falcons started the season off with a difficult slate of 4A teams. Potter hopes the competition will build up Canyon View in time for its regional schedule.

“Playing them and trying to learn and get better from them should help us in the long run,” Potter said. “There’s good teams at 3A in our region too, so we’ve got to play this kind of competition to get ready.”

Crimson Cliffs started its tournament off with a 70-44 win over Richfield Friday night. Eaton was the high scorer in that game with 23 points for the Mustangs while Hudson Hawes netted 15 points for the winners.

“Very similar to this (Canyon View) game, where it took us a minute to find our routine and get into the tempo we wanted to play,” Winters said. “We sped them up with some pressure that led to some turnovers and easy buckets, and then we did a good job defensively in the second half.”

Now the Mustangs turn their attention to the first game of the Region 10 schedule, which is Wednesday night at home against Desert Hills at 7 p.m.

“It’s a rival. A lot of our kids played with Desert Hills players growing up before Crimson Cliffs was even a school,” Winters said. “So they’re very familiar with each other. Both teams are different from last year, both teams graduated a lot of players.”

The past two years, the teams have split their games against each other and Winters expects that equal level of competition to be the same.

“We expect a high intensity, physical game,” Winters said. “We’ll have a big crowd. It should start off the region schedule with a bang.”

Cedar Reds

The defending state 4A champion Cedar Reds went 2-2 in preseason action leading up to this weekend’s Challenge at the Cliffs tournament at Crimson Cliffs.

The Reds opened the season with an 88-85 loss at Sky View on Dec. 2, but bounced back to defeat Mountain Crest the next day, 60-37.

Richfield boys basketball at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 8, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Then on Dec. 4, Cedar fell to Ridgeline 54-50 to come away from the Sky View invitational with one win and two losses.

The Reds played their home opener Dec. 9, defeating 3A Richfield, 59-48. Zab Santana scored 19 points to lead the Reds in that contest, while teammate Ty Harrison added 18.

On Friday night in their first game tournament game at Crimson Cliffs, Cedar fell to 2-3 on the season after losing 87-50 to Real Salt Lake Academy (Herriman).

The Reds finished their tournament play against Green Valley Saturday afternoon, winning 66-59. Cedar evened its record at 3-3 as Harrison led all Cedar scorers with 32 points. Stockton Albrecht threw in 11 and Aaron Munson scored 10 for the winners.

Cedar opens its Region 10 schedule Wednesday night at unbeaten Snow Canyon (3-0) at 7 p.m.

–written by Jeff Richards

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