Boys Basketball Schedule

Hurricane nabs No. 3 seed; Flyers celebrate perfect region slate

Written by Andy Griffin
February 17, 2018

ST. GEORGE – There was the potential for some crazy ties and perhaps even a play-in game, but in the end, the last day of the regular season for Region 9 boys basketball went pretty much according to script.

Dixie blew out last-place Cedar, finishing off a perfect 12-0 region campaign. Second-place Desert Hills was good, too, dominating Canyon View in Cedar City. And Hurricane, made sure its No. 3 standing was safe by winning at home against Snow Canyon.

With the results, the top seeds in the region end up as Dixie No. 1, D-Hills No. 2, Hurricane No. 3 and Canyon View No. 4. The Flyers will host the fourth seed from Region 12, Bear River, next week in the first round of the playoffs. The Thunder will host third-seeded Green Canyon. The coaches of both host teams are hoping to play the games on Friday night, pending approval from the opposing coaches and the UHSAA.

The Tigers will travel to Logan and take on the Grizzlies, who finished second in Region 12. And Canyon View will try and shirk off its four-game losing streak in a road trip to No. 1-seeded Sky View next weekend.

“It’s a whole new season and the teams that play defense and take care of the ball will be the ones there at the end,” Hurricane coach Todd Langston said. “You’ve got to do that for the next four games, and whoever does that will be the champion.”

All three winners scored in the 60s on a high-scoring Friday night. Here’s a recap:

Hurricane 69, Snow Canyon 64

Three seniors, Britton Esplin, Jackson Last and Reagan Marshall, opened the game with three baskets and the Tigers never trailed in a game the Warriors had to have to get a chance at the playoffs.

On Senior Night at Hurricane, Esplin opened the contest with a 3-pointer, then Last hit a mid-range jumper and Marshall followed with a jump shot just inside the 3-point arc. Just two minutes into the game, Hurricane had a 7-0 lead and, while the game would have plenty of drama the rest of the way, Snow Canyon never could quite catch the Tigers.

“It was exactly that kind of game, where we would get out to a big lead and then they would make a run,” Langston said. “We played really loose and didn’t feel any pressure of having to win since we already had a playoff spot clinched. I think that’s one of the reasons we shot the ball so well tonight.”

The Tigers really were sharp in their finale on their home court. Hurricane hit 21 of 38 field goals (55 percent), 6 of 12 3-pointers and 21 of 28 free throws (75 percent). The hot shooting helped them withstand every run Snow Canyon made.

Cole Warner had six points and Braden Baker added four in the first quarter as the Warriors closed to within 14-12 with 1:29 to go in the first. But Hurricane closed the period on a 5-0 run on a trey by Last and a pair of free throws by the senior guard to take a 19-12 advantage after one.

The Tigers got it to double figures at 27-17 late in the second quarter, but Snow Canyon had it to 31-24 at intermission.

“We talked at halftime about being aggressive on defense and more efficient on offense,” Langston said. “Our seniors did a really nice job on their night. And our younger players, especially sophomores TJ Minor and Brice Thomas, made some big shots as well.”

The Warriors got within four early in the third quarter after a fast-break basket by Warner and a pair of free throws and it was still tight at 38-33 with 3:45 to go in the third. But Hurricane went on an 8-0 run to push the advantage out to 46-33 with 2:11 left in the third.


Snow Canyon got within six early in the fourth quarter, but Hurricane junior guard Matthew Meyers came off the bench to score all 11 of his points in the final frame to stave off any Warrior comeback attempts. A Bryson Childs trey at the buzzer got SC as close as it would get the entire final quarter.

“We really didn’t feel any pressure tonight and the seniors did what they do,” Langston said. “It makes a big difference to have our young guys step up, too. Matt (Meyers) was big for us in the fourth quarter.”

The Tigers end up with a 7-5 region record (13-9 overall) and will be the three-seed from Region 9. Hurricane will face Logan in the 4A first round, likely on Saturday night. The Grizzlies also have a 13-9 record and placed second in Region 12. Logan is 1-1 against Region 9 teams, having beaten Pine View and lost to Dixie.

Snow Canyon, which got 25 points from Baker and 11 from Warner, could have earned a play-in game with Canyon View and a tie for fourth place had it been able to win this game. But the Warriors instead end up 4-8 in region and tied for fifth with Pine View. SC finishes the year with an 8-14 record overall.

 

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