ST. GEORGE — The middle of the Region 9 girls basketball standings shuffled a bit Thursday night.

Region leader Snow Canyon took care of business against Pine View by way of a 60-46 win, and second-place Cedar defeated Crimson Cliffs 59-48.

Meanwhile, Desert Hills took down Hurricane 57-43 to move from fifth place to third place and the Tigers dropped to fifth. Dixie, which had a bye, remained in fourth place.

Pine View is sixth, while Crimson Cliffs is still seeking its first region win of the season.

Desert Hills 57, Hurricane 43

The crowd inside the Thunderdome honored the seniors on the basketball team before the Thunder boomed out a comprehensive victory over the Tigers.

Desert Hills senior Hannah Heaton drives the ball up the floor against Hurricane in a Region 9 girls basketball game, St. George, Utah, Feb. 1, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“I thought we started the game better than we have the whole season,” Desert Hills coach Ron Denos told St. George News after the win. “We’ve really been struggling on the starts. Second half has always been a lot better than our first half.”

Desert Hills led 12-8 after the first frame and upped that advantage to 29-22 at halftime.

Hannah Heaton’s return from injury energized the team, Denos noted. He also credited the energy in the building on senior night for the Thunder’s fast start.

“Hannah makes such a difference when she’s out there. She’s still not 100 percent, as you can tell, but everybody just feels more comfortable when she’s out there,” Denos said. “I just thought everybody that played, played hard for me. That’s what I appreciate.”

Heaton scored nine of her game-high 18 points in the second half and Mylee Villanueva scored seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter to help the Thunder pull away in the victory.

Jacie Riding netted 12 points for the winners and Jenna Brown chipped in with eight.

Hurricane was led by Nini Dominguez and her 15 points. Laynee Walker scored 10 for the Tigers and Addi Johnson contributed five points in the setback.

The win propelled the Thunder up a spot in the Region 9 standings, chasing the league-leading Warriors and the second-place Cedar Reds.

“We’ve always felt like we could get some more region wins,” Denos said. “It’s just a matter of us playing together as a unit, playing for each other.”

Snow Canyon 60, Pine View 46

Snow Canyon’s Fetuao Tapasa looks to pass against Pine View in a Region 9 girls basketball game, St. George, Utah, Feb. 1, 2024 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

The Warriors remained unbeaten in Region 9 games but the Panthers did not make it easy for them in the Pit.

Pine View focused from the opening tipoff and trailed the region leaders 14-12 after the first quarter.

The Warriors upped that lead to 30-24 at halftime but it was never comfortable as the Panthers kept their deficit below 10, trailing 44-37 after the third quarter.

But Snow Canyon seized the win with a 16-9 performance in the fourth. 

Star junior Olivia Hamlin led the way once again for Snow Canyon with 24 points. Fellow juniors Kelly Howard scored 12 and Joey Jensen netted 10 for the winners.

All three of those players sank a single 3-pointer in the victory.

Hayden Harris scored 16 to pace the Panthers and Charity Falaniko threw in 13 for the Panthers in the setback.

Reese Gustin contributed a 3-pointer and nine points for Pine View.

Cedar 59, Crimson Cliffs 48

Gabby Gomez scored 19 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead the Cedar Reds to a home victory over the Crimson Cliffs Mustangs.

Crimson guard Kinsey Plewe opened the game the same way she had at Snow Canyon two nights earlier, by swishing a 3-pointer to give the Mustangs an early 3-0 lead.

However, Cedar then went on a 10-0 run before Plewe made another 3 to make it 10-6. The Reds went on to take a 17-11 lead after one quarter.

Cedar center Kiara Hansen goes up for a contested shot vs. Crimson Cliffs in Region 9 basketball action, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 1, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Mustangs fought their way back early in the second, closing the gap to two points, 20-18, with just over five minutes left before halftime. Cedar then pulled away again with a 10-1 run, eventually taking a 35-24 halftime lead.

Gomez scored eight of Cedar’s 18 second-quarter points.Cedar maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second half, leading 48-35 after three quarters.

The Mustangs did briefly get within nine points with just under two minutes left in the fourth, thanks to a four-point play that included a made free throw followed by a miss, with Crimson’s Kenadee Richey getting the rebound and making the putback while getting fouled, then converting the ensuing plus-one. That sequence cut Cedar’s lead to 55-46, but the Mustangs could get no closer.

Also scoring in double figures for the Reds were forward Annalyse Shimada with 14 points and center Kiara Hansen with 10.

Leading the way for Crimson Cliffs was Richey with 18 points, while Plewe and Alyssa Whittaker each finished with eight.

Cedar, which improved to 7-2 in Region 9 play with the win and sits at No. 2 in the standings, next faces a tough test at region-leading and unbeaten Snow Canyon next Tuesday.

– written by Jeff Richards 

Region 9 girls basketball standings:

Snow Canyon (17-1, 8-0)
Cedar (15-4, 7-2)
Desert Hills (8-9, 5-4)
Dixie (9-10, 4-4)
Hurricane (11-9, 4-5)
Pine View (4-15, 2-6)
Crimson Cliffs (4-15, 0-9)

Schedule for Tuesday, Feb. 6:

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

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