Lady Warriors: The night they drove old Dixie down

Snow Canyon's Tylei Jensen drives, draws the defense, then dishes to teammate Sammi Johnston, who was fouled on her shot attempt in the Warriors' 53-30 victory over visiting Dixie High School, Jan. 16, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

ST. GEORGE  — A gaggle of teen girls was leaving Snow Canyon High School Tuesday after the Lady Warriors defeated visiting Dixie High School, 53-30. They were overheard wondering if they should hang around to chat with a friend on the Lady Flyers team until one of them suggested the friend wouldn’t be interested in talking because, as she exclaimed, “They just got murdered in there!”

Snow Canyon’s Tylei Jensen finds an open lane to the basket on a fast break as Dixie defenders try to catch up during the Warriors’ 53-30 win over the visiting Flyers, Jan. 16, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

Well, there were no reported homicides in St. George on the night, but the ease with which Snow Canyon dispatched Dixie may have bordered on criminal.

The Warriors held Dixie scoreless for the first 5:24 of the game until Karla Oliva hit a runner in the lane. But Snow Canyon’s Tylei Jensen immediately countered by slicing through the Flyers’ defense for a basket to put her team up 11-2. Soon afterward, teammate Natalie Gunn hit a 3-pointer. Dixie’s Sina Tapasa made a free throw and the first quarter ended with Snow Canyon up 14-3.

It got no better as the night wore on.

“We ran into a buzz saw tonight,” Dixie High head coach Ryan Forsey texted to St. George News after the game.

“Give Snow Canyon credit, they were prepared and made things very uncomfortable and difficult for our guards tonight. Couple that with our lack of mental strength to play through their aggressive defense and our offense never found a rhythm.”

The closest thing Dixie had to a meaningful run was near the beginning of the second quarter with Tapasa at the line. The Flyers’ strong inside standout made the first and missed the second, but teammate Breezie Fakatoumafi put back the offensive rebound to bring Dixie to within 14-6.

However, Snow Canyon responded by outscoring the Flyers 10-0 over the next few minutes, punctuated by Rachel Durante’s 3-pointer. In the middle of the run, Jensen also hit a 3. She led all scorers with 17 points, 15 of which came in the first three quarters. Hallie Remund and Durante each added 8 points.

Dixie High’s Abi Finlinson gets good position under the boards and pulls down this rebound against Snow Canyon, although the visiting Flyers lost to the Warriors, 53-30, Jan. 16, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

“We all played really good as a team and we wanted it for each other,” Jensen said. “We’ve been working on our defense and we really showed up tonight.”

The sophomore point guard credited teammate Allie Parr with a strong performance on the glass, a difficult challenge given the imposing presence of Dixie’s Tapasa inside the paint.

“We just came in the mindset to shut her down and that our defense was going to win the game,” Parr said. “And we all needed to rebound, and I went after that tonight.”

Still, Tapasa scored 12 points to lead her team, but none of her teammates had more than 4.

As the Warriors pulled away in the second quarter, Dixie tried to fight back. After Joslyn Bundy drove to the hoop for a bucket that snuffed Snow Canyon’s 10-0 run, Tapasa scored inside, then later put back an offensive rebound to pull the Flyers to within 28-12. But Jensen banked home a 3-pointer and, despite Fakatoumafi’s mid-range jumper just before the buzzer, Snow Canyon led comfortably at the half, 31-14.

“I’m proud of our girls for not quitting, and trying to play through a tough night,” Forsey said. “It’s hard sometimes to remember we’re such a young team, and we’re going to take hits like this from time to time, but we’ll continue to focus on us and improving each day.”

Any hopes the Flyers may have had for a second-half rally were quickly extinguished.

Snow Canyon’s Allie Parr gets open inside to score against the Dixie defense in the Warriors 53-30 win over the visiting Flyers, Jan. 16, 2018, St. George, Utah | Photo by Michael Rinker, St. George News

Jensen stole the ball, was fouled and hit one of two free throws. Neither team scored over the next two minutes, but Snow Canyon’s Remund hit a runner to put the Warriors up by 20.

A flurry of points followed as Tapasa scored twice at the rim while Jensen got another steal, pushed the ball upcourt and fed Durante for the bucket. Jensen added two free throws before Durante nailed a 3-pointer and Alivia Hinton hit a pair of foul shots to give Snow Canyon a commanding 43-18 lead after three quarters.

Dixie outscored the Warriors, 12-10, as the teams played out the string in the fourth quarter.

Snow Canyon coach Ryan Rarick said he had a hunch his team would play well.

“We had one of the best practices yesterday that we’ve had all season. It was intense and the girls really got after it,” he said. “And once I saw the intensity that we came out with at the beginning of the first quarter, I knew we’d have a chance to extend it. The girls played as a team and did all the things we asked of them.”

Both teams are 2-2 in Region 9 play. Dixie visits Desert Hills High School on Jan. 18, while Snow Canyon next plays Jan. 23 at Hurricane High School.

In other Region 9 action Tuesday, Pine View and Hurricane both won.

Email: mrinker@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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