ST. GEORGE — Cedar's boys basketball team plays a style similar in purpose to that of its football team — pound it for four quarters and methodically wear a team out.
In addition to physically wearing down an opponent, foul trouble is also a byproduct of that style. Cedar benefitted from both in the 3A quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon.
In a game that was nip and tuck for three quarters, Cedar pulled away emphatically in the fourth quarter, outscoring Region 12 champion Payson by 14 on its way to a 54-38 victory at Dixie State College.
"Our whole goal is to pound the ball inside, and I think we have two or three kids who can play down there, and I think ultimately our length and being able to get the ball inside helped us a ton," said Cedar coach Craig Cardon.
Up until the fourth quarter, the game had been very tight with six ties and four lead changes. Cedar started to pull away for good though when Payson's Tanner Newbold fouled out with 4:49 in the game, with Kyler Nielson turning the foul into a 3-point play that extended the lead to six at 39-33.
Payson leading scorer Clint Bateman dealt with foul trouble the whole game as well, eventually fouling out himself in the final minute.
"We tried to attack the rim offensively and got them into foul trouble, and when you take Bateman off the floor that changes the dynamics of that team immensely," said Cardon.
Bateman and Newbold came into the game averaging 19 and 17 points, respectively, but Cedar limited them to just 16 combined points.
Cedar big man Trent Snow helped set the tone early, blocking four shots in the first quarter, and his presence forced Payson to change the way it attacked the glass the rest of the game.
"After you get a couple blocked, it's tough to take it back at him," said Cardon. "They got a little tentative, and Kyler Nielson and Kaden Garrett did a wonderful job as well as the team in stopping Bateman and Newbold."Comment on this story
Just like Payson though, Cedar didn't shoot the ball particularly well either at just 34 percent. It pulled away in the fourth quarter primarily from the free-throw line, finishing the game an impressive 23 of 28. Payson, conversely, only got to the line 11 times.
Cedar had four players score in double figures, led by Snow and Breylin Blackner, who finished with 12 each. Nielson added 11 and John Ursua chipped in with 10. In addition to his 12 points, Snow finished with 13 rebounds and five blocks.
Cedar will face the winner of the Morgan-Hurricane game at 9:10 p.m. in the 3A semifinals.