Marathon game (4 OTs) ends with Dixie headed to 3A Championship game

WEST VALLEY CITY – Bruised hip, torn shorts and a smile.

dixie-smDesert-Hills-smThat describes Tyler Bennett, who limped off the court with a satisfied smile on his face after Dixie defeated Desert Hills 79-72 Friday night in four overtimes at a rocking Maverik Center. The trio of Bennett, RJ Wilgar and Jake Hawes combined for 60 of those points.

Tyler Bennett slips a shot past Austin Adams (25), Desert Hills vs. Dixie, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 27, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Tyler Bennett slips a shot past Austin Adams (25), Desert Hills vs. Dixie, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 27, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“We were smart and stayed away from fouls early in the game, so we didn’t have anyone foul out,” Bennett said. “That might have been one of the keys to us winning it. They had some of their best players foul out. I’m just so happy right now. Tired and and sore and happy.”

It was actually a pretty low-scoring game until the overtimes. Dixie, which had led most of the game, saw the advantage finally evaporate with 2:28 to go when Marcus McKone hit a free throw to tie the game at 48. Max Mills then gave the Thunder the lead at 50-48 on a tough layup just eight seconds later. McKone’s freebies were a result of a foul and a technical foul on Hawes.

With the Mills bucket, it was 50-48. Wilgar muscled home a basket inside for Dixie with 1:40 to go. Neither team scored in the final 100 seconds, with D-Hills trying three shots in the closing seconds, none of which went in.

In the first OT, Nate Crockett missed the potential game-winner with seven seconds to go and DH couldn’t get off a counter. That left the score at 56-56 and a second OT was in order and DH would have to play it wihtout star Quincy mathews, who fouled out.

In the second extra period, Dixie led 64-61, but Tanner Leishman tied the game with a three-point play on an amazing hook shot with 39.2 seconds left. A last-second shot by Dixie’s Hawes was blocked.

Marcus McKone (12) shoots a technical foul shot, Desert Hills vs. Dixie, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 27, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Marcus McKone (12) shoots a technical foul shot, Desert Hills vs. Dixie, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 27, 2015 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The third OT started with a Bennett basket, but McKone put DH ahead 67-66 with a 3-pointer. Three free throws by Dixie made it 69-67. Austin Admas tied the game with a fadeaway with 50 seconds to go and a Wilgar shot at the buzzer just missed, sending it to a fourth OT tied at 69-69.

Hawes was fouled early in the fourth OT, the fifth personal on Leishman. He made two shots, then Malachi Otis made it 73-69 with two more Dixie freebies. McKone tried to keep the Thunder close with another deep 3-pointer to make it 73-72 with 2:35 to play. Bennett answered with a tough shot in the lane.

“I wasn’t trying to do anything special,” Bennett said. “I just got open in the lane and shot it.”

The spinning one-hander made it 75-72 at the 1:15 mark. A 3 at the other end missed and DH was forced to foul. Bennett and Ethan Langford hit four straight free throws to ice the game and send Dixie to the title game.

Bennett had 22 points and 4 assists, while Wilgar had 20 points and 5 rebounds.

McKone had 25 for the Thunder, while Leishman had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Mathews had 14 points. The Thunder, who out-rebounded the Flyers 39-31, finish the season with an 18-7 record.

Dixie, 20-5, was 26 of 53 from the floor for 49 percent. The Flyers hit 23 of 37 free throws, 62 percent.

Dixie plays region rival Pine View Saturday here at the Maverik Center, 1 p.m. The two teams split close games this season.

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

 

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1 Comment

  • The train February 28, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Wow. Amazing game. I wasn’t very impressed with the refs. In the last quarter/overtimes there were multiple times when DHHS or DHS would drive in the lane and a defender would step in front of them and there would be MAJOR contact. I’m not able to say if the foul was offensive or defensive, but there was serious contact. There needed to be a call. The refs didn’t have the guts to make a call either way because they didn’t want to determine the outcome of the game. Have some character and do your job. Also, Dixie better make their free throws if they want a chance against PV.

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