Tyler Bennett’s dagger lifts Dixie into state semifinals

WEST VALLEY CITY — The Dixie Flyers’ perfect execution in the last seconds of Thursday’s quarterfinals game was, well, flawless.

dixie-smbear-river-smRichard Guymon caught a half-court pass and fired the ball to teammate Tyler Bennett. The Dixie junior nailed a perfect 3-pointer from the right wing as time expired to lift Dixie to a 43-41 victory over Bear River and earn the Flyers a trip to the 3A State semifinals.

“I caught the pass from Richard and I don’t even know what happened after that,” Bennett said.

Dixie had just blown a 39-35 lead with 14 seconds to play. Cole Fronk hit a 3-pointer to make it 39-38 and, after a Dixie free throw, Riley Walker crashed through the lane and scored for the Bears. He was also fouled and his free throw put Bear River ahead 41-40 with 2.9 seconds to play.

Tyler Bennett (5) launches a last second 3-pointer to win the game for the Flyers, Dixie vs. Bear River, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Tyler Bennett (5) launches a last second 3-pointer to win the game for the Flyers, Dixie vs. Bear River, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

After a timeout by each team, Dixie ran the play it had worked on. RJ Wilgar hit Guymon, who was coming back to the ball. He wheeled and found Bennett immediately. Bennett’s 3-pointer was good as the buzzer sounded.

“We’ve worked on that play a lot,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “But for it to work perfectly like it did on that last play, maybe 10 percent.”

Dixie had led by eight early in the game after hitting five 3-pointers in the first quarter. Wilgar and Jake Hawes both had a pair of treys and it seemed as if the Flyers would run away with the game.

But the shooting cooled off in a hurry at the converted hockey rink. Dixie would manage just four points in the second quarter and were tied 19-19 with the Bears at intermission.

The Flyers hit 60 percent from deep in the first quarter, but managed just 6 for 23 for the game (26 percent). Dixie also struggled at the line, making just 7 of 16 free throws. Bennett hit four straight in the fourth quarter or it would have been much worse.

Bennett finished with a game-high 17 points and also had 4 rebounds and 5 assists.

Bear River got a good game from McKade Mitton, who had 14 points and 6 rebounds. The big post player made 5 of 6 shots, but his teammates hit just 10 for 32.

Dixie, 19-5, will play region rival Desert Hills Friday night (7:30 p.m.) in the late semifinal. The winner will face the winner of Pine View-Richfield Saturday for the 3A title.

Dixie has won five straight and its two playoff wins are by a combined three points.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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