ST. GEORGE — The Region 9 girls basketball schedule commenced in earnest Tuesday night and the defending champs are already setting the pace.

Olivia Hamlin dropped 29 points and Snow Canyon continued its region title defense with another overwhelming win at home.

Meanwhile, Hurricane needed overtime to defend its home court and Cedar survived a cold shooting night to eke out a win on the road.

Dixie, which is 2-0 in Region 9 and 7-6 overall, had a bye Tuesday night.

Snow Canyon 70, Pine View 21

Snow Canyon’s Kyza Andrews (15) drives against Pine View in a Region 9 girls basketball game, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2023 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

The big win improved Snow Canyon’s record to 11-1 overall and 2-0 in Region 9 play. The Warriors won the region last year with an undefeated record.

Hamlin’s 29 points included a 2-of-5 showing from 3-point land. She made a scorching 11-of-14 field goals. She also posted a game-high six steals and grabbed four rebounds.

Junior Kelly Howard was consistent in the Warriors win as well, scoring 10 points, snagging five rebounds, dishing out two assists and recording a steal.

Seven other Warriors scored a least one point in the victory.

Meanwhile Pine View slipped to 2-11 overall and are still seeking their first Region 9 win of the season at 0-3.

Cedar 47, Crimson Cliffs 42

The gym in Washington Fields was frigid for both squads as the Reds and Mustangs combined to miss quite a few shots in the early stages of the contest.

The visitors from Cedar led 6-1 after the first quarter.

The home team pried the lid off the basket in the second quarter, outscoring the Reds to take a 22-13 lead at halftime.

Crimson maintained its lead, enjoying a 36-29 after the third session. But Cedar rallied to take the fourth quarter 18-6 to remain unbeaten in Region 9 (11-2, 3-0).

“I think it just takes a lot of faith. I always have a lot of faith in my team that we’ll come back no matter what,” Cedar senior Kiara Hansen told St. George News outside the locker room after the win.

Hansen scored 14 points for the winners including a couple of key buckets from the paint and two free throws in clutch time.

“So I think that just believing in each other helps us keep going,” Hansen said.

Crimson Cliffs’ Alyssa Whittaker shoots against Cedar in a Region 9 girls basketball game, Washington, Utah, Jan. 9, 2023 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

Cedar sophomore Gabby Gomez had a game-high 20 points, including two 3-pointers, to pace the victors. Jaylin York scored seven for the visitors, Annalyse Shimada threw in five and Kelsi Orton sank a free throw to round out Cedar’s scoring.

Crimson Cliffs got at least a bucket from eight different players in the tough loss. Summer Adams led Crimson’s effort with 10 points including three 3-pointers.

Kenadee Richey and Kinsey Plewe each scored eight points for the Mustangs (4-9, 0-3).

Cedar’s basketball players hope to follow in the lead of their volleyball team, which finished strong in both Region 9 play and in the state playoffs.

“I think we’re improving a lot, not only as a team, player-wise, but as a program,” Hansen said. “Corry (Nielsen) and all of our assistant coaches are doing really great at leading us to victories.”

Hurricane 68, Desert Hills 58 (OT)

At Hurricane, the Tigers built an early double-digit lead that lasted up until the fourth quarter, when Desert Hills mounted a steady comeback.

With 1:54 left in regulation, Desert Hills center Jenna Brown sank a free throw to bring the Thunder within two points, 50-48. Hurricane then turned the ball over, after which the Thunder’s Jacie Riding drove inside for the game-tying layup.

Then, with just under one minute left, Brown was fouled inside. She made one of two free throws to put Desert Hills up by one. Then, on the next possession, Brown scored inside once again to give the Thunder a 53-50 lead.

Ana Larsen of Hurricane goes for a fast break while being guarded by Jenna Brown of Desert Hills, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 9, 2024 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

With her team still trailing by three with 20 seconds left, Hurricane’s Addi Crandall went to the free throw line after a foul. She made her first free throw but missed the second, upon which teammate Nizhoni Dominguez snagged the rebound and made the putback basket to tie the score 53-53.

Hurricane then came on strong at the start of the four-minute overtime, as Whitney Esplin and Abby Stout hit back-to-back 3-pointers to fuel a 10-0 run that put the game away.

“I honestly could not be more proud of the girls,” said Hurricane head coach Pepper Reddish afterward. “They are so strong-minded and just kept digging.”

“It’s also not easy coming off of a few losses and playing the No. 1 team from the previous year,” Reddish added. “Our girls kept their heads on and outrebounded them on both sides to secure that win.”

Esplin led Hurricane’s balanced scoring attack with 14 points, while Ana Larsen added 13, Addison Crandall scored 11 and Dominguez made 10.

“Nini was definitely the player of the game, all-around and when it counted,” Reddish said of Dominguez. “She had clutch points at the right moments and finished with eight rebounds and four steals. She was a beast!”

Leading the way for Desert Hills was Brown, who finished with 19 points, while teammate Ashtin Hansen added 17.

Both teams are now 1-2 in Region 9 play. Desert Hills next hosts Crimson Cliffs on Thursday, while Hurricane has a bye that night. The Tigers’ next scheduled contest is next Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Crimson Cliffs.

– written by Jeff Richards

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