ST. GEORGE — The preseason pick to win the Region 9 girls basketball championship — Snow Canyon — hasn’t played a regional opponent yet.

The Warriors are 8-1 but don’t play their first Region 9 game until Jan. 4 at Crimson Cliffs. Meanwhile, the other Region 9 teams have begun the local slate.

Following are recaps from the three Region 9 games that tipped off the season, beginning with Tuesday night’s games at Dixie and in Hurricane.

Dixie 52, Crimson Cliffs 32

The Flyers (5-4, 1-0) broke open a low-scoring contest in the second half and soared to the blowout win.

“I think our girls all worked together and executed at important times,” second-year Dixie head coach Coty Bundy told St. George News. “It did get sloppy there for a minute, but we held our heads up and kept after it.”

Crimson Cliffs’ Kenadee Richey posts up against Dixie in a Region 9 girls basketball game, St. George, Utah, Dec. 19, 2023 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

The visiting Mustangs (3-7, 0-1) missed a lot of shots and Dixie took an 11-5 lead after the first and enjoyed a 25-15 advantage at halftime.

Lala Faumuina, Dixie’s standout post player, is a senior this year and looks to cap her career with a strong season.

Faumuina scored 19 points to lead all scorers in the contest, all of them coming from the paint.

Jerzi Bundy sank a 3-pointer to finish with nine points and Brinlee Bennett made two 3-pointers and posted eight points for the Flyers.

A sluggish third quarter saw the teams play to an 8-8 tie, but then Dixie closed the game out with a 19-9 performance in the fourth and final quarter.

Summer Adams made two 3-pointers and finished with 10 points for the Mustangs, the only Crimson player to score double-digits.

Kinsey Plewe made a 3 and threw in nine points for Crimson while Ellie Christensen had a 3-pointer and five points for the cause.

Dixie had a strong run in the region last year, finishing 8-4. But neither the Flyers nor any other region team challenged the unbeaten Snow Canyon Warriors.

“We have to play our game,” coach Bundy said. “We can’t worry too much about them. If we do what we know how to do, then we’ll be able to compete. And that’s what we’re shooting for, be able to compete with anybody in the region.

“The region is going to be tough, not just Snow Canyon,” he added.

Cedar 49, Hurricane 48

After an evenly played first quarter that ended with the score tied 12-12, Hurricane went on an 8-0 run to start the second period.

Cedar forward Annalyse Shimada banked in a 35-footer just as the halftime buzzer sounded, bringing the Reds’ deficit to within seven points, 24-19.

With about a minute left in the third quarter, Cedar guard Kenzie Bird followed a steal with a pair of back-to-back layups that put the Reds up by three, 35-32.

Cedar forward Annalyse Shimada banked in this long 3-point shot just before the halftime buzzer at Hurricane, Utah, Dec. 19, 2023 | Screenshot image courtesy of Hudl, St. George News

Cedar (8-2, 1-0) gained the upper hand at the start of the fourth, eventually taking a 45-39 lead on a Gabby Gomez layup with 3:30 remaining.

On Hurricane’s next possession, Ana Larsen rattled in a 3-pointer from the left wing, cutting Cedar’s lead to three points, 45-42. Then, with 41.8 seconds left, Hurricane’s Katen Myers drove inside and scored, getting fouled by Shimada. She missed the ensuing free throw, leaving Cedar still up 47-46.

On Cedar’s ensuing possession, Gomez brought the ball up the floor and dished it over to Hansen for a fast-break layup that gave the Reds a 49-46 lead with 34 seconds left.

Hurricane (6-4, 0-1) then missed a 3-pointer but got the rebound and made the putback to get back within one point, 49-48.

Hurricane’s last shot attempt, a 3-pointer from the left side, missed its mark and Cedar escaped with the victory.

“We played a very good team,” Cedar head coach Corry Nielsen said afterward. “Hurricane has very aggressive and physical post players. We’re very fortunate that we won the rebounding battle.”

“It’s always hard to win on the road. We just made one more play than Hurricane did,” Nielsen added.

Shimada led the way for Cedar with 13 points, while Gomez added 10 and Mya Bishoff scored nine.

For Hurricane, Crandall was the top scorer with 12 points, with Larsen adding 11.

The next Region 9 games for both teams will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4, when Cedar hosts Desert Hills and Hurricane hosts Dixie.

– written by Jeff Richards

Desert Hills 68, Pine View 26

At Desert Hills on Dec. 12, the Thunder and the Panthers opened their Region 9 slate one week early, with Desert Hills cruising to a decisive 42-point win at home.

Hannah Heaton led all scorers with 16 points, while teammates Tess Peterson and Jenna Brown added 11 apiece.

Desert Hills (3-3, 1-0) doubled up Pine View 18-9 in the first period, then extended that lead by outscoring the Panthers 18-4 during the second quarter and 24-10 during the third.

Leading Pine View (2-8, 0-1) in scoring was Reese Gustin, who finished with nine points.

Desert Hills is playing this week at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas. The Thunder’s next Region 9 contest will be at Cedar on Jan. 4.

Meanwhile, Pine View is scheduled to host two non-region games over the holiday break, with a contest vs. Beaver scheduled at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29, and a game against Judge Memorial at 2 p.m. the following afternoon.

The Panthers’ next scheduled region game will be at Snow Canyon on Jan. 9, at 7 p.m.

—written by Jeff Richards

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