ST. GEORGE — Pine View's Kody Wilstead signed a letter of intent to play quarterback for BYU at lunchtime Wednesday. After his 33-point performance against Desert Hills Wednesday night, BYU fans may want him on the basketball team as well.
Wilstead led his team to a 74-70 come-from-behind victory over rival Desert Hills, lifting the Panthers into first place by a half-game over the Thunder in 3A's Region 9.
"It didn't feel like I scored that many," Wilstead said. "I shot a lot of free throws, that's what it felt like. I didn't know I had 33 points."
Desert Hills couldn't handle the senior Pine View center, who made 10 of 17 from the floor and 13 of 14 from the free-throw line. His night included three monster dunks, including a one-handed tomahawk in traffic on a fast break.
Most of his heroics came after halftime, where he had 25 of his 33 points.
"In the first half they were out-physicaling me and I got into foul trouble," Wilstead said. "I just felt like I let my team down in the first half. During halftime I was sitting there saying to myself, 'I can't be the reason my team loses.' I came out in the second half and did whatever I could so that wouldn't happen."
Pine View point guard Chaz Peterson said he was thrilled to see Wilstead have a breakout game.
"Kody played great tonight," he said. "I've never really seen him play that well. We kept giving it to him inside and he kept scoring. He said, "Chaz, keep giving me the ball,' and I said, 'Yes sir.'"
Desert Hills played well out of the locker room in both the first quarter and third quarter. The Thunder, led by senior Quincy Mathews, had 27 first-quarter points in opening up an 11-point lead. Pine View chipped away at the lead, pulling within six in the second quarter before settling for a 41-34 halftime score.
In the third, Mathews and teammate Marcus McKone came out on fire, helping Desert Hills push out to a 55-41 lead midway through the period. McKone had two 3-pointers and Mathews had six points in the 14-7 run.
But the Panthers started pounding it into the post and Wilstead had 13 of PV's 15 points in the third.
The fourth quarter was all Pine View. Wilstead started it with a one-handed throwdown, then a steal and coast-to-coast drive that ended with a finger-roll for two more.
Pine View actually took the lead at 58-57 with a bank shot in the lane by Jed Newby, but the brief lapse seemed to wake up the Thunder, who then went on an 11-2 run to take a 68-60 lead with three minutes left.
Undaunted, Pine View rallied by scoring nine straight, including a deep 3-pointer by Garrett Bowker. Wilstead's free throws with 1:14 gave Pine View the lead once again at 69-68.
Both teams nailed a pair of freebies to set up a 71-70 Pine View lead with 25 seconds left, but Wilstead gave the Panthers a little breathing room with a steal and another layup with 18.8 seconds to go.
After a timeout, Mathews worked for a 3-pointer, but the shot was just short and Bowker hit a free throw to ice the game for the Panthers.
"They came out in the first quarter and punched us in the mouth," Peterson said. "But we weathered the storm and didn't let them get too far ahead. We knew that we could come back. We had confidence in our team."
Pine View was an impressive 23 of 45 from the floor (51 percent) and a terrific 25 of 29 from the charity stripe (86 percent). The top-ranked Panthers are now 17-2 on the season, 8-2 in Region 9.
Mathews led DH with 25 points and McKone had 20. The Thunder also shot well, going 25 of 51 from the floor (49 percent) and 16-20 from the line (80 percent). But D-Hills fell to 14-5 overall, 7-2 in region.
Andy Griffin is a southern Utah broadcaster and sports writer and has been involved in covering sports in Utah, including professional, college and high school sports, since 1989. Andy is the sports editor at STGNews.com.