ST. GEORGE — While the Region 9-leading Snow Canyon Warriors took a night off from girls basketball action, three other teams kept pace in the standings with victories.

Dixie held Crimson Cliffs to two points in the third quarter and went on to double-up the Mustangs on the road. Desert Hills controlled the game in a win at Pine View. And Cedar got a huge night from Gabby Gomez to win at home.

Following are recaps of the three Region 9 girls basketball games on Thursday night.

Dixie 66, Crimson Cliffs 33

The Flyers made a focused effort at halftime to work on their defense. Mission accomplished.

Crimson’s Kinsey Plewe inbounds against Dixie’s Jaycee Bundy (3) in a Region 9 girls basketball game, Washington, Utah, Jan. 25, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

Dixie held the home team Mustangs to two points in the third quarter and six in the fourth as the Flyers led wire to wire.

“I think we had a lot of steals and intensity,” Dixie senior Hali Smith told St. George News after she led the visitors with 18 points in the win. “It was really fun to work together and play defense as a team.”

Dixie’s pressure defense forced frequent turnovers from the Mustangs, who had a hard time protecting the basketball. Crimson forged a strong run to end the second quarter and trailed only 29-25 at intermission.

But the Flyers slammed the door shut in the third, winning the quarter 16-2 and removing any doubt about the outcome of the contest.

Smith scored half of those Dixie points in the third, with four free throws and two buckets. Her quick hands-on defense forced turnovers and deflected passes.

“I’m excited because this is going to help us move forward,” Smith said. “We’re starting the second half of the region and we can only go up.”

Kealah Faumuina finished with 13 points from the paint for the winners. Brinlee Bennett scored 12 for Dixie and Jaycee Bundy netted 11 for the winners.

“I definitely think it will help our mojo,” Smith said. “It’s going to boost our confidence a lot and it proves what we can do together.”

Kenadee Richey led the Mustangs with 10 points, all in the first half. Freshman Josie Myers might have had her best game of the year, scoring six points and making some big blocks on the defensive end for Crimson.

Desert Hills 57, Pine View 40

Both teams played hard in the first half and battled to a 24-24 tie.

But the visiting Thunder came out of the break and won the third quarter 15-7, then iced the victory with an 18-9 showing in the final session.

Ashtin Hansen led all scorers in the contest with 15 points for the winners. Desert Hills also got strong contributions from Jacie Riding (12 points, two 3-pointers) and Mylee Villanueva (eight points).

Five other Thunder players recorded at least three points in the balanced offensive performance by Desert Hills.

Pine View was led by Reese Gustin’s 13 points, including two 3-pointers. Casey Morley scored seven points and Isabel Jensen made a 3-pointer and netted five points for the Panthers.

Cedar 62, Hurricane 50

Cedar guard Gabby Gomez scored 31 points, including a school-record nine 3-pointers as the Reds posted the big home win.

Cedar’s Gabby Gomez sinks one of her nine 3-pointers against Hurricane in a Region 9 girls basketball game, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 25, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, Cedar City News / St. George News

Cedar started the game with an 11-0 run that included Gomez swishing her first three shots from long range. The Reds held a 13-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Cedar outscored the Tigers 16-12 during the second quarter, with all of Hurricane’s points coming on 3-pointers–Whitnie Esplin drained three treys and Laynee Walker made one.

Gomez then scored 10 of Cedar’s 13 points in the third period, as the Reds took a 42-29 lead after three. One of Gomez’s shots, a running bank shot from the top of the key, was initially signaled a 3-pointer but was later ruled a 2-pointer.

Hurricane scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut Cedar’s lead to eight. With six minutes remaining, Cedar still led by the same margin, 48-40, but Gomez drilled another pair of timely treys to give her team some breathing room.

Later, Gomez banked in her ninth and final 3-pointer of the game from about 25 feet out, helping Cedar maintain a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

“I just felt confident, every shot I take, that I’m gonna make it,” Gomez said afterward. “This game went a lot better than last time we played them. We only won by one. We wanted to have a good game at home and we haven’t played at home in a while, so it was good to win.”

Adding to Gomez’s 31-point performance were center Kiara Hansen, who scored 10 points, and freshman guard Jaylin York, who made nine for the Reds.

Junior forward Annalyse Shimada finished with seven points, including a 3-pointer as well as a smooth shot from an inbounds play with less than 2 seconds left in the first half.

Walker finished with 14 points to lead Hurricane, while Esplin and guard Ana Larsen each scored 12. The Tigers drained nine 3-pointers as a team, with Walker and Esplin each making four.  Long-range shots accounted for 54% of Hurricane’s total points.

Meanwhile, Cedar made 12 3-pointers during the game, accounting for 58% of the team’s total points.

“The players came out focused and we did a great job on our scouting report. I’m happy with how we took care of the ball. We shot the ball and rebounded very well,” said Cedar head coach Corry Nielsen. “Hurricane is very good and played hard all game long.”

– written by Jeff Richards

Region 9 girls basketball standings:

Snow Canyon (15-1, 6-0)
Cedar (13-4, 5-2)
Dixie (9-9, 4-3)
Desert Hills (7-8, 4-3)
Hurricane (10-8, 3-4)
Pine View (4-14 , 2-5)
Crimson Cliffs (4-13, 0-7)

Schedule for Tuesday, Jan. 30

Crimson Cliffs at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Hurricane at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Cedar at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.

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