Cedar, Hurricane, Desert Hills girls win opening-round playoff games; Pine View nearly upsets Logan

Bear River's Emma Bitner is flanked by Cedar's Brooke Shoop and Dream Weaver after making a steal during Cedar's 56-34 win in the first round of the 4A playoffs, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 23, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Region 9’s top three seeded girls basketball teams all won their respective first-round playoff games Friday evening, with Cedar and Hurricane winning at home and Desert Hills upsetting Ridgeline on the road. Region 9’s No. 4 seed, Pine View, had a two-point lead over top-seeded Logan in the fourth quarter, but ultimately lost by eight. Here’s a look at Region 9’s action Friday night:

Cedar 56, Bear River 34

The Cedar Lady Reds got off to a slow start against Bear River, but ultimately pulled away for a 56-34 victory at home in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.

Bear River’s Rachel Fronk is guarded by Cedar’s Japrix Weaver during Cedar’s 56-34 win in the first round of the 4A playoffs, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 23, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

The game was tied 7-7 midway through the first period when freshman guard Logann Laws hit a free throw to put Cedar ahead 8-7. A couple minutes later, senior forward Dream Weaver was fouled while making a basket. She converted the free throw for a three-point play that gave Cedar an 11-7 lead. Each team scored one more point before the first quarter ended with the Lady Reds ahead 12-8.

During the second period, sophomore guard Japrix Weaver scored nine of her game-high 12 points as Cedar began to build a sizable lead, despite missing several layups and close-range shots.

“We missed six or seven easy, point-blank shots early on, but I knew if we kept on playing the way we did, those shots would fall,” said Cedar head coach Corry Nielsen.

Cedar went on to lead 30-14 at halftime, then outscored Bear River 14-5 during the third period. The Lady Bears made just two field goals that quarter, one of which was a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Cedar’s signature defense held the Lady Bears to just six field goals the entire game. Cedar also had 36 rebounds to Bear River’s 22.

“They only had six baskets all game long. I can live with that,” Nielsen said. “Bear River’s a good team, but so are we.”

Cedar forward Carley Davis takes an inside shot during Cedar’s 56-34 win in the first round of the 4A playoffs, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 23, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

“I think the key was, we just played great defense,” said Japrix Weaver, who led Cedar’s balanced scoring attack with 12 points. Senior forward Carley Davis added 10 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Bailee Fielding added eight points, Emme Brower made 6 points and 3 steals, and Dream Weaver finished with 5 points.

Bear River was paced by senior Rachel Fronk’s 10 points, with sophomore McKenzie Bywater adding 8.

Cedar next advances to face Salem Hills, Region 10’s No. 2 seed, in the 4A quarterfinals Thursday, March 1, at Utah Valley University. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

Hurricane 62, Green Canyon 53

The Hurricane Lady Tigers got a career game from senior Kylee Stevens and held off Green Canyon High School in the fourth quarter to win its opening-round playoff game, 62-53.

Stevens scored 18 points, including one 3-pointer, and was 7 for 11 from the free throw line. She also pulled down 6 rebounds and led her team in both assists (6) and steals (3).

“That was the best game I’ve ever seen her play,” Hurricane head coach Franci Homer said. “She got into some foul trouble in the first half … she sat out the last four minutes of the second quarter and last three minutes of the third. At halftime I told her ‘I need you to play 16 minutes.'”

Jayden Langford added 14 points for the Lady Tigers and Alexa Christensen made 13, hitting 6 of 8 shots from the field.

It was a tight game throughout as the Lady Tigers led by 4 points after the first quarter, 1 at halftime and 3 going into the fourth quarter.

In a high-scoring final frame, Hurricane prevailed.

“I never felt like we broke away,” Homer said. “With three and a half minutes to go, we were up by 9, then they would make a basket and we would make a basket, or we’d go to the line and they’d go to the line.”

Both teams spent time on the free throw line in the quarter – Green Canyon shot 14 and the Tigers attempted 12, hitting 9.

For the game, Hurricane went to the line 27 times – which Homer said is a lot for her team – converting 19.

“The officials were calling a tight game and both teams were aggressive,” she added.

Hurricane, Region 9’s No. 2 seed, advances to the state 4A quarterfinals where it will face Mountain View, Region 10’s No. 1 seed, which defeated Juan Diego 57-29 in Friday’s opening round. Hurricane will play Mountain View at 5:50 p.m. Thursday, March 1 at Utah Valley University.

“Mountain View has been at the top all year,” Homer said. “I haven’t watched any film on them; I’m going to have a busy weekend.”

Desert Hills 50, Ridgeline 49

Desert Hills watched a five-point lead nearly disappear in the closing seconds, but held on to win 50-49 over Ridgeline High School in its first-round 4A playoff game at Millville.

A turnover and a traveling call against the Lady Thunder let the RiverHawks score a pair of baskets and narrow the lead to one with 9 seconds left, Desert Hills head coach Ron Denos said. With time running out, a held ball went to the Thunder with about one second left, securing the win.

Although the visiting Thunder led most of the game, it was a tight throughout and neither team led by more than six points, he said.

“They were very physical and went hard to the boards … they got a lot of points off the offensive boards.”

Desert Hills prevailed thanks to a “total team effort,” Denos said. Nine girls played and each contributed at crucial points in the game.

Overall, Jessica Bills was “strong inside” and Madi Clark led the way on the offensive end, he said, but again emphasized the team effort.

The Thunder will next face Lehi in the 4A quarterfinals at 4:10 p.m. Thursday March 1 at Utah Valley University. Lehi upset top-seeded Bonneville Friday night, 44-38.

Logan, 57, Pine View 49

Region 9’s fourth-seeded Pine View nearly pulled off a major upset at Logan, but ultimately came up short as the Grizzlies outscored the Panthers 19-9 in the final quarter and escaped with a 57-49 victory in the first round of the 4A state playoffs Friday night.

Pine View, which led by one at the half, still had a two-point lead heading into the final quarter. But two back-to-back backcourt violations by Pine View allowed Logan the chance to pull ahead for good.

“We ran out of steam and just couldn’t rally there at the end,” said Pine View head coach Chris Brinagh. “We played extremely hard, but a few costly mistakes got us.”

Pine View’s trio of senior guards combined for 29 points, with Claire Newby and Dawn Mead each scoring 10 and Saraven Allen adding nine points. Freshman center Averi Papa also scored 10 for Pine View.

“We had great balanced scoring,” Brinagh said.

“We are really proud of the heart they showed and the effort they gave,” added Pine View assistant coach Sunny Schuler.

Logan guard Mia Marin scored 19 and fellow guard Amber Kartchner added 18 for the Grizzlies. Logan, Region 12’s No. 1 seed, advances to play Spanish Fork in the 4A quarterfinals Thursday, March 1.

All eight winners of Friday night’s games advance to the state 4A tournament March 1-3 at Utah Valley University in Orem. Click here to see the full bracket.

St. George News reporter MICHAEL RINKER contributed to this article.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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