ST. GEORGE — What a difference three months makes.
Hurricane's basketball team opened the season with a seven-point loss to Morgan back in November, a result that was somewhat predictable after the Tigers had just three practices thanks to the football team's deep run through the football playoffs.
With the football rust long gone for several of the players, Hurricane took care of business in Thursday's rematch with Morgan in rather convincing fashion with a 54-43 victory at Dixie State College in the 3A quarterfinals.
Hurricane held Morgan's high-scoring offense to just 29 percent shooting and 18 points below its season average.
The victory completed the Region 9 sweep in the quarterfinals as Desert Hills, Dixie and Cedar also won on Thursday at Dixie State College.
"Nothing came easy, in my opinion, for any of the other teams that played today. We had to certainly start and finish what we started," said Hurricane coach Brian Vaifanua.
Hurricane will face Cedar on Friday night at 9:10 p.m. in the 3A semifinals.
The Tigers were led by Colton Marshall's 15 points, and 11 each from Benson Rich and Taylor Parker.
Rich's defensive job on Jake Miles was one of the big keys to the game. Miles came into the quarterfinals averaging 19.7 points, but he was hounded all game, finishing with just 11 points on 2 of 12 shooting.
"We certainly wanted to make sure we knew where he was. We wanted to be in what I call his shadow. I thought Benson did a fantastic job making sure the kid wasn't comfortable," said Vaifanua.
With the Trojans struggling from the field, Hurricane jumped out to a 24-14 lead. Morgan twice clawed back to within four points in the second half but couldn't sustain the momentum as the Tigers quickly pushed the lead back to double digits.
Morgan, which averaged five 3-pointers per game this season, went 1-for-18 Thursday from beyond the arc. Morgan coach Jim Wiscombe thought his players settled for outside shots too quickly.
"Sometimes offensively we weren't very patient. That's a team that if you move them enough you can find open shots. Sometimes we'd pass it two or three times and were impatient. That's hard for us 'cause we're an up-tempo team all year long," said Wiscombe.
Boston Saunders led Morgan in the loss with 13 points.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company