Cedar girls pick up 51-47 road win over Desert Hills in region opener

Desert Hills' Katelyn Phillips (25) comes up with the ball at midcourt during Cedar High's eventual 51-47 win over Desert Hills at Desert Hills High School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 19, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Cedar High School girls basketball team eked out a 51-47 victory over Desert Hills Tuesday night. The game marked the first region contest of the season for both teams.

Cedar High’s Dream Weaver is guarded by Desert Hills’ Katelyn Phillips during Cedar’s 51-47 win over Desert Hills at Desert Hills High School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 19, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Dream Weaver, Cedar’s starting senior forward who’d been held scoreless in a loss to Richfield last week, was the first player to score Tuesday, putting back a missed shot to give the Lady Reds a 2-0 lead one minute into the game. The first quarter was a defensive battle, with Cedar leading 8-6 at the end of the period.

During the second period, the Lady Reds were held to just three field goals, but managed to extend their lead, thanks to 10 of 13 free throw shooting. Brooke Shoop was a perfect 6 for 6 from the line for Cedar in the second quarter.

Although Desert Hills struggled to hit shots from outside, it was able to stay within striking distance. The Thunder’s Annie Frame scored all four of her points during the second quarter, and four other Desert Hills players added 2 points apiece as Cedar took a 24-18 halftime lead.

Cedar High’s Emeline Brower dribbles past Desert Hills’ Jessica Bills during Cedar’s 51-47 win over Desert Hills at Desert Hills High School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 19, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Just before the first half ended, Weaver hit the floor hard after being fouled during a layup, and did not return to the game, finishing with 6 points. She was evaluated by trainers for a possible concussion.

Desert Hills outscored Cedar 12-11 during the third period, with Kellie Nance scoring 6 points and Katelyn Phillips adding 4. Still, Cedar managed to lead by as many as 11 points during the period.

Early in the fourth quarter, Madi Clark of Desert Hills scored a putback basket off an offensive rebound to cut Cedar’s lead to three points, 35-32. But on Cedar’s next possession, sophomore Japrix Weaver, Dream’s sister, drilled a 3-pointer to give the Lady Reds a 38-32 lead.

Both teams saw multiple missed opportunities down the stretch, committing numerous turnovers and fouls. Two Desert Hills players, Frame and Kylee Westhoff, both fouled out of the game during the fourth quarter, as did Cedar’s Fielding and Carley Davis.

Cedar High’s Carley Davis (center) makes a play during Cedar’s 51-47 win over Desert Hills at Desert Hills High School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 19, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

With less than two minutes left, Phillips hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to five points, 47-42, but the Thunder could get no closer until Jessica Mathis scored a basket at the buzzer to account for the 51-47 final score.

The Lady Reds, who shot 10 of 13 from the free-throw line in the first half, were only 5 of 15 in the second half, finishing 15 of 28 overall. Meanwhile, the Thunder converted 16 of their 23 free throw attempts during the game. The two teams combined for 38 turnovers, with Desert Hills committing 21 and Cedar 17.

“We let them get a lead and then we could never get it back,” Desert Hills head coach Ron Denos said after the game.

“I thought our girls played a lot better the second half.” he added. “In the fourth quarter we’ve just kind of been in a lull. And we’re just trying to get out of that. And I think we turned the corner a little bit. The second half, we just didn’t have enough to finish it.”

“Cedar’s a very good team and they played hard, and we look forward to moving on,” Denos said.

Cedar High’s Japrix Weaver is guarded by Madi Clark of Desert Hills during Cedar’s 51-47 win over Desert Hills at Desert Hills High School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 19, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Cedar head coach Corry Nielsen said he was happy with the way his team responded after Dream Weaver went out with her injury right before halftime.

“In the third quarter, we came out hard and went up by 12 or 13 points,” he said, calling the contest “an intense and physically tough game.”

“They are the (reigning) region champions and they fought like champions,” Nielsen said of Desert Hills. “It was a big win for us. Any win in region is a big win, especially on the road, to win before Christmas. You know that’s a huge win, against very well-coached team that played hard. We were very fortunate to win.”

Japrix Weaver led Cedar in scoring with 14 points, while Shoop added 10 and Fielding scored 7. For Desert Hills, Phillips led the way with 14 points, while Nance added 10, Jessica Bills scored 7, and Mathis and Clark each added 6.

Other Region 9 results

In other action Tuesday involving Region 9 teams playing their regular-season opening contests, Pine View pulled away in the fourth quarter to win at home against Snow Canyon. Click here for full story.

Also Tuesday, Canyon View eked out a 51-50 win at Hurricane. “We had the lead 51-48 with about 10 seconds left,” Canyon View coach Jaycee Slack-Barnhurst said. “They had the ball out of bounds. We fouled and put them on the line.” Facing a one-plus-one free throw situation, Hurricane’s Madi Hirschi made both of her foul shots to bring the Lady Tigers within one point, but Canyon View was able to run out the clock for the victory. Jordan Nielson scored 18 for Canyon View, and teammate Bryn Banks added 10. Hurricane was paced by Hirschi’s 13 points, with Jayden Langford adding 11 and Hailey Homer scoring 10.

Region 9 play will resume after the holiday break, although some teams will be playing some additional nonregion games before the end of the year.

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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