Boys Basketball Schedule

Hurricane 59, Cedar 53 2/14/2018

With a banged up coach and facing a defense centered around stopping their star, the Tigers visited Cedar with the playoffs on their minds.

“Coach (Russ) Beck had a great game plan against us,” said Hurricane head coach Todd Langston, who is still recovering from a fall off a ladder that broke several ribs and lacerated his kidney. “We didn’t play well early on and they had us by 10. Somehow we figured out a way to pull this one out.”

The Redmen played a triangle-and-two defense against the Tigers, with both of the “two” guarding Jackson Last. The result was three defenders guarding the other four Hurricane offensive players.

“You’d think we’d be able to score 4-on-3 like that, but we weren’t,” Langston said. “Cedar’s whole plan was to not let Jackson beat them. We told our guys at halftime that someone else was going to have to step up and hit shots. Our two sophomores, Brice Thomas and TJ Minor, did it and that was basically the difference on the game.”

Last ended up with a decent stat line – 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals – but the bulk of the points came from the two sophs. Thomas led all scorers with 17 points (with four 3-pointers) and Minor ended up with 13 points.

“We need guys to step up and hit open shots when they’re there,” Langston said. “We knew the opportunities would be there and we needed them not to be nervous or passive.”

Dallin Grant’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first quarter had put the Redmen ahead 16-6. Two minutes into the second quarter, Ethan Boettcher hit a trey and the lead had grown to 21-7. Unfortunately for Cedar, Boettcher’s trey would be the last points the Redmen would score in the quarter.

Hurricane put together a 10-0 run over the next five-plus minutes of game play. It started with a pair of free throws by Last after a steal. Bryant Mangelson then scored to cut it to 21-11 with 5:12 to play in the half. After a dry stretch for both teams, Last scored four quick points to cut it to 21-15 with 1:18 to go in the half. The Tigers then closed the second quarter with a basket by Thomas to make it 21-17.

The third quarter also belonged to Hurricane. At 23-19, Thomas buried a trey and Russell Neild scored to give the Tigers a 24-23 lead with less than two minutes gone on the third. Cedar got the lead back on two free throws by Dallin Peterson, but Thomas struck again to make it a 27-25 Tigers edge.

It was 31-27 for the Tigers heading into the fourth quarter, but the game remained close. Cedar regained the lead at 46-45 with 3:09 to go on two free throws by Peterson. Thomas hit two more treys late in the game, but the Redmen stayed within striking distance on a trey by Treyton Tibbs and free throws by Boettcher.

Adam Heyrend gave Hurricane a 53-50 lead as the clock ran under 90 seconds, then he made it 54-51 a moment later with a free throw. At the line for his second shot, Heyrend missed, but Matthew Meyers got the offensive rebound. Hurricane then got it inside for a basket by Minor to push the lead out to 56-51 and effectively ice the win.

“We had some unforced turnovers and took some bad shots that helped them get back in the game,” Langston said. “Give Cedar credit, they battled back. We feel fortunate to get out of there with the win and we are very relieved to be in the playoffs.”

The Tigers, 12-9 overall and 6-5 in region play, will likely be the No. 3 seed from Region 9 and have to go on the road in first round of the playoffs. Hurricane can clinch that third seed with a win at home vs. Snow Canyon on Friday.

Cedar, 8-14 and 1-10, was led in scoring by Boettcher’s 14 points and Grant’s 11. The Redmen close out the regular season at Dixie on Friday night.