Everybody loves a good buzzer-beater, so Desert Hills gave its fans two in the Thunder’s 71-61 season opening win over Canyon View, just neither was at the final buzzer.
At the end of the first half, Desert Hills guard Cameron Clayton rose up and nailed a 3 to give the Thunder a 10-point lead, 40-30, at halftime. And then at the the third quarter, Logan Hokanson hit a trey of his own to make it 61-44. Canyon View did make a run in the fourth, cutting the Thunder lead to single digits in the fourth, but not enough to require another last-second shot to end the game.
“We want to take that last shot,” Desert Hills head coach Wade Turley said. “We don’t want to take it too early so they can get the rebound and score. They were good shots and they made them.”
Canyon View suffered its first loss of the season, dropping to 2-1 after beating two other Region 9 opponents (Hurricane and Snow Canyon) to start the year.
With Desert Hills leading 12-11 near the end of the first quarter, the Thunder 3-point shots started falling. A quick 10-0 run between the end of the first and start of the second gave Desert Hills a cushion it kept for most of the night. But the Thunder had to fight to keep it.
Led by Cadyn Clark and Jacob Carrington, who both finished with 11, the Falcons kept pushing throughout the night, keeping Canyon View within striking distance.
But every time the Falcons got close, the Thunder had an answer. Desert Hills got timely shots from Tyler Simister, Marcus McKone and Clayton to end Canyon View runs and keep the Falcons at bay.
Sinister led all scorers with 14, with Clayton and McKone scoring 11.
“We had a chance to blow them out, but they fought back,” Turley said. “We showed some character and made some runs of our own.”
The final Desert Hills run began with the clock having ticked under three minutes to go in the game and Canyon View having clawed its way back to being down just eight. But a little over a minute later, Simister bounced a half-court pass to Jayce Jones who was under the basket to finish off a late Thunder surge and put them up by 15, 71-56, with just 90 seconds remaining.
Desert Hills wouldn’t score again, but it didn’t need to. The Thunder had got the buzzer-beaters out of the way already.
Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter, @millerjryan.