Following up as champion is the toughest act in all of life. It especially gets harder when you lose some of the best athletes Region 9 has ever known.
The Hurricane Tigers know the challenge of this issue, and faced yet another reality check in a loss to Timpview, 75-44, in the final day of action Saturday at the Red Rock Rumble at Dixie State College.
“We knew we were playing a phenomenal, if not a fantastic team,” Hurricane coach Brian Vaifanua said. “Our focus was we wanted to be more concerned about us, because we haven’t had a lot of success on the court.”
Hurricane opened the first quarter with one of their better defensive efforts of the year, taking a 4-2 lead with 3:18 left in the quarter. However, Timpview’s Leo Roese went on a personal 9-0 run, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers to give the Thunderbirds an 11-8 lead at quarter’s end.
“The biggest challenge for us is just sustaining momentum, and trying to sustain runs,” Vaifanua said.
The second quarter was an extension of Timpview’s run, as the T-Birds opened on a 7-2 tear. Roese hit another trey with 1:50 left in the first half, giving Timpview a 24-14 lead which would stretch to 29-19 at halftime.
The Tigers opened the second half on a high note, cutting the score to 32-26 on a Cody LeBaron basket with 4:37 on the clock. However, Timpview finished the quarter on a 21-6 run, ending with a 53-29 lead.
The fourth quarter proved to be anti-climatic as Timpview dominated, going on a 22-13 run despite back to back 3-pointers from Hurricane’s Jayce Housley.
Roese finished with 22 points for Timpview, including four 3-pointers. Cody LeBaron’s nine points paced the Tigers, with Garet Cahoon also scoring eight points.
Despite another disappointing loss, Vaifanua was quick to note his team is indeed making progress as it prepares for the continuation of region play beginning in January.
“I think the Christmas break will help us, so we can get our legs back,” Vaifanua said. “I think it will help us to get away from the whole basketball environment.
“I’m expecting after the break the kids will come with a renewed outlook, and increased level of commitment, and that’s what we will need, more intensity and more focus.”
DESERT HILLS 44, PLEASANT GROVE 34: Desert Hills won its own holiday tournament by hitting big shots and clamping down on a hot-shooting Pleasant Grove team in the fourth quarter.
MeKenna Miles hit five of the Vikings’ seven 3-pointers to keep the game close.
Each time the Vikings pulled close, the Thunder answered with another player hitting an important shot. Desert Hills ended one Vikings run with a steal and layup by Blair Bliss, who led the Thunder with 16 points, another with a post move and shot by Haley Bodnar, who scored 11. Two other runs were stopped by an Emily Seifert jumper and then a steal for a layup, followed by a big rebound and free throws by Karlee Myers.
The Thunder finished the pre-Christmas part of their schedule 11-0.