CEDAR CITY – Desert Hills used a second-quarter surge to pull away from Canyon View on Friday and came away with a 69-57 region victory that took competitive to a new and repugnant level.
The teams fought, literally and figuratively, from start to finish as officials spent nearly as much time separating the tussling players and sending kids to the foul line as they did managing the rest of the game.
The chippy atmosphere resulted in four technical fouls and a bevy of stern warnings from the stripes.
Desert Hills’ Max Mills spent much of the game in the thick of the action, but kept his nose clean and did what he could to avoid the whistles.
“It was scrappy,” Mills said of the frequent scuffles. “Everybody was flying around. There were some pretty hard fouls out there.”
Things actually went fairly well for the first eight minutes of the game as the teams battled to a 15-15 tie at the end of the first quarter.
The Falcons (1-4, 7-7) led 19-17 early in the second and had some nice momentum going before the Thunder put together a series of possessions that changed the course of the game.
Logan Hokanson hit consecutive three-point shots that put Desert Hills ahead 23-19 and the Thunder (5-0, 12-3) would close out the quarter with a 12-3 run that sent them into the half leading 35-22.
Things started getting physical just before the half as players began to lose their cool and the fouls, which had been manageable to that point, began to stack up.
A scramble for a loose ball with less than a minute to play in the half ended with a pile of players on the floor and technical fouls being called against both sides.
The 10 minutes in the locker room did little to calm the players down and they started the second half the same way they ended the first.
A couple of shoving matches resulted in more technicals and more warnings from the officials.
“It’s frustrating because you feel like you don’t have a whole lot of control,” Desert Hills coach Wade Turley said of the difficulty of coaching this type of game. “The officiating maybe let it get a little too physical.”
Turley said he expected a tough game from the Falcons, but didn’t expect things to take such a furious turn.
“I expected Canyon View to battle and be physical, I just didn’t expect it to get out of hand like it did,” he said.
Despite the drama, the teams actually managed to be quite productive in the third quarter, combining for 39 points.
But no matter how hard they tried, the Falcons just couldn’t gain any ground on the Thunder’s offensive attack that was led by Quincy Mathews’ 27 points.
Desert Hills led 56-40 after three quarters and held Canyon View off for the last eight minutes to take the victory bus back to St. George.