3A Boys State Basketball’s drive to the title: Dixie Flyers

dixie-smThe Dixie Flyers are 18-5 and currently ranked No. 2 in the state by the Salt Lake media.

First round: Defeated Payson 49-48

Quarterfinal match-up: Dixie vs. Bear River, 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Maverik Center. Listen to the broadcast on SportsRadio 106.1 FM and at http://sportsradio1061.com.

Points for/against: Dixie averages 64.8 ppg/55.9 papg

Jake Hawes (23) and Tyler Bennett defend against a Springville player, Dixie vs. Springville, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 12, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Jake Hawes (23) and Tyler Bennett defend against a Springville player, Dixie vs. Springville, Boys Basketball, St. George, Utah, Dec. 12, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Dixie stars: At times early in the year, Jake Hawes (18.8 ppg) seemed to carry this team. But junior guard Tyler Bennett has been money lately, averaging 16.2 ppg and scoring 27 in the road win over Payson. RJ Wilgar has also been solid at 12.7 ppg, but he hyper-extended his knee against the Lions and will not be 100 percent. Wilgar will play, however. Hawes leads 3A in 3-point shooting (56 made), but Bennett (23), Wilgar (33) and Nate Crockett (20) can all stroke it.

Streak/trend: Dixie was 5-3 in mid-December and 13-2 since then. In fact, the only “bad” loss in the new year was to Hurricane, and that came on a career night by James Bennion. The Flyers have won four straight.

bear-river-smScouting the Bears: Bear River (55.0 ppg/47.0 papg) is 18-5 and has won seven straight. Guard Cole Fronk (13.5 ppg) is their top scorer, with McKade Mitton coming in at 10.8 ppg. Jordan Sanchez averages 10.0 ppg and Tristan Hartfiel has 26 treys on the year. Bear River is the Region 11 champion and has made 103 3-pointers (Dixie has 137).

Perusing the bracket: If the Flyers can get past Bear River, a rematch with Desert Hills could be in the works. The Thunder face an tough Juan Diego team, so either way, it won’t be easy. The semifinal for the lower bracket teams is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday. The 3A Championship game is 1 p.m. Saturday.

Bottom line: More than any team in the tournament, Dixie has the ability to absolutely explode on the scoreboard, with those three sharp-shooting guards. Having Wilgar banged up doesn’t help and may put more pressure on Bennett and Hawes to both be good at the same time. One thing that is true is that Dixie’s offensive post game is a bit lacking. But the Flyers have done a good job defensively in the post with Richard Guymon and Ethan Langford.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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