Boys 3A State Tournament: Flyers soar past Logan and into semifinals

CEDAR CITY –Dixie, back in the 3A State Tournament after a second-place finish a year ago, is on a mission and the Logan Grizzlies, well, they were in the way.

dixie-logojuan-diego-logoLogan almost beat Dixie back in December, but the Flyers left no doubt this time in a 68-57 convincing win at SUU’s Centrum Arena. With the win, the Flyers advance to the 3A State Semifinals Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at SUU.

“We wanted to come out and set the tone defensively,” Dixie coach Ryan Cuff said. “We got some stops that put us in a good position. Richard Guymon is so crucial to our defense. We can play the perimeter shooters tight because our defenders know Richard is behind them.”

Dixie's Richard Guymon (11), Dixie vs. Logan, 3A State Basketball Championship Tournament, Boys Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Dixie’s Richard Guymon (11), Dixie vs. Logan, 3A State Basketball Championship Tournament, Boys Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Dixie got on the board first with a 15-foot jump shot from the left side by James Eardley. Logan responded with two baskets from Jaden Frazier and Rylan Jones. Eardley gave Dixie the lead with a 3-pointer with two minutes gone, 5-4. After two more Grizzly baskets, the game was tied again on a Connor Dyches’ 3-pointer.

Logan’s Jones nailed another 3-pointer with less than a minute showing. A basket by Dixie’s Kaden Elzy and free throw from backup center Tanner Larkin knotted the first quarter score at 11. Jones, Logan’s freshman leading scorer, had seven points in the opening quarter.

Cuff did not have any particular defender guarding him, as the Dixie defense switched on all picks.

“We did not want him to get used to one defender,” said Dixie point guard Malachi Otis. “We have several good man-on-man defenders. As a team we knew where he was.”

Dixie’s leading scorer, Tyler Bennett, was silent in the first quarter, but came alive in the second. Otis took possession of a shot deflected by center Guymon and found Bennett for the fast-break layup. He added another two baskets and four free throws in the period as Dixie began to build a small lead. His basket with 3:53 remaining gave Dixie a 21-15 lead.

“We had some first-quarter jitters,” said Bennett. “We got in a better flow in the second quarter.”

Logan scored five quick points, including a 3-pointer by Jared Bagley, to pull within one. Dyches answered for the Flyers with his second trey of the game. Otis got the lead back to six on a layup. And the lead stayed there going into halftime when Bennett’s two free throws put Dixie up 30-24.

Dixie vs. Logan, 3A State Basketball Championship Tournament, Boys Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Dixie vs. Logan, 3A State Basketball Championship Tournament, Boys Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

A key stretch in the game came in the opening minutes of the second half. The Flyers went inside to Guymon, who powered in the bucket and drew the foul. His “and one” started a 7-0 run. Nate Crockett had the final two baskets of the run to put Dixie up 37-24 with six minutes remaining in the third.

Logan came back, however, and actually matched Dixie’s output in the quarter 18-18. Most of the scoring came from Jones. He hit two consecutive 3-pointers, the second one from 35 feet. However, the freshman was knocked out of the game momentarily when he had a collision with Guymon in the lane with 2:14 remaining in the third. Logan backup point guard Anthony McDade came in to take Jones’ free throws and then added two more to pull the Grizzlies to within five 43-38.

On the Flyers next possession, Elzy drove the lane and dished to an oncoming locomotive in the human form of Guymon, who put down a thunder dunk. Logan closed the quarter 4-3 to pull the Grizzlies back to within six.

Guymon’s second dunk of the game gave Dixie a 52-44 lead with 6:35 left in the game. A big call came two minutes later when Jones was called for the offensive charge and drew his fifth foul.

“Jones is their best player,” said Cuff. “He likes to take over games in the fourth quarter. It is tough to see him go out on that call.” Jones exited the game with 26 points.

Dixie pulled the ball out in their spread offense. “We wanted to slow the game down,” said Cuff. “Our ball handlers do a good job of controlling the ball. Our spread usually leads to an open layup or some free throws.”

The Flyers hit 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch with Otis going 6 for 6. Logan was unable to match them at the offensive end and when time ran out, it was a Dixie 68-57 victory.

Individually, Bennett led three Flyers in double figures with 17 points. Guymon and Eardley had 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Dixie moves to 21-4 and will face Bear River in the semifinals tomorrow.

Logan falls to 16-8 on the year and will face Snow Canyon in the consolation bracket Friday at 12:50 p.m.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

 

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