Ricky Bower of Ricks College hit a 17-foot jumper just before the buzzer sounded as the Vikings trimmed Dixie 66-64 on Saturday night to win the men’s Region 18 basketball tournament title.
An overflow crowd estimated at 3,500 at Ricks’ Hart Gymnasium in Rexburg, Idaho, saw the fourth-seeded Vikings (25-8) upend the second-seeded Rebels (28-5).
Bower rebounded a missed shot by Dixie’s Eric Holmes, dribbled down court and pulled up for the game-winner. Bower was named the tourney MVP.
Ricks beat No. 1-seeded Southern Idaho 70-61 in Friday’s semifinals while Dixie downed Snow 86-85 on Holmes’ last-second 3-pointer.
Bower’s shot capped a big night for the host school. The top-seeded Ricks women whipped No. 2 Utah Valley 95-77 in the title game.
Backup center Susan Hanchett scored 24 points and tourney MVP Cady Williams added 13.
Ricks’ teams move on to the NJCAA tournaments.
North Idaho College point guard Tammy Goyne was selected first-team All-Region 18. The sophomore also was chosen to the All-Tournament team.
Goyne was one of the top three vote-getters, meaning she’ll be nominated for All-American status along with Ricks’ Williams and Utah Valley’s Tirzah Church. Ricks’ Lori Woodland was voted coach of the year.
NIC freshman guard Becki Huddle was honorable mention All-Region 18. The Cardinals lost to Utah Valley on Friday.
For the men, NIC sophomore point guard Nathaniel Bailey and freshman forward JoVann Johnson made the second team.
Ricks’ Clyde Nelson was honored as coach of the year. The three All-American candidates are Salt Lake’s Eddie Gill, Dixie’s Holmes and Utah Valley’s Silester Rivers.