Red-hot Blazers run past Chaminade to capture 9th straight win

File photo, Dixie State University vs. Dominican University, Men's Basketball, St. George, UT, Jan. 5, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

HONOLULU – This win streak is starting become a monster.

Senior guard Brandon Simister scored 19 points and Dixie State used a 15-0 run late in the first half to grab the lead and cruise to a 77-65 victory over Chaminade Thursday night, the ninth consecutive victory for the Trailblazers.

Julian Ducree came off the bench to lead the surge that started with 7:10 left in the first half and DSU trailing 28-25. Ducree hit a layup and a short jumper by Dub Price 20 seconds later gave the Trailblazers a 29-28 lead. After two Trevor Hill free throws made it 31-28, Hill got a steal and a breakaway dunk to make it 33-28 with 6:03 left in the half.

Dixie State was just getting warmed up.

File photo, Dixie State’s Julien Ducree (54), Dixie State University vs. Dominican University, Men’s Basketball, St. George, UT, Jan. 5, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

After a Silverswords miss, Ducree followed a Hill misfire with a slam dunk. Chaminade tried to stop the bleeding with a timeout, but Hill got another steal out of the break and fed Quincy Mathews for an easy layup and a 37-28 lead with 5:12 left in the half. Ducree then capped the 15-0 run with a three-point play after yet another offensive rebound. That sequence made it 40-28 with just over four minutes left in the half.

Chaminade was able to close within 40-35 at the half, and the Silverswords got as close as 54-52 after a 3-pointer by Justin Bridges with 11 minutes left in the game. But DSU countered with nine quick points, including a 3-pointer by Wade Miller, and Chaminade didn’t get any closer than eight points the rest of the game.

Dixie State, 12-2 in the PacWest Conference and 15-6 overall, made 6 of 14 3-pointers in the game, including 3 for 7 by Simister. The senior from Desert Hills also had three assists and two steals and made all four of his free throw attempts.

Ducree’s 11 points came on 4 for 5 shooting in the game and Dixie State hit 29 of 60 field goals as a team for 48.1 percent. The Blazers also played sharp defense against the dangerous Silversword 3-point shooters. CU was just 13 for 35 from deep, and made just 6 of 16 free throws. Chaminade also had 15 turnovers to just eight for DSU.

The victory helps preserve first place for Dixie State, which is a game ahead of Azusa Pacific and two games up on Cal Baptist. The Trailblazers take on Hawaii Pacific Saturday (10:30 p.m. MST), before returning to Utah for a home game Feb. 10 vs. Hawaii Hilo.

Stats: DSU 77, Chaminade 65

Women’s basketball
Chaminade 66, DSU 52

The Trailblazers (10-11, 6-8 PacWest) found themselves in an early 7-0 hole, but responded with a 10-2 run over the next three minutes to take their only lead of the game at the 5:30 mark of the opening frame. Matti Ventling buried two triples during the stretch, including the go-ahead basket. The teams traded baskets over the next five minutes and Chaminade took a 15-12 lead to the second quarter.

The second frame saw more of the same as the squads traded runs until Maile Richardson converted a layup to pull DSU to within 25-24 with just over two minutes remaining. Chaminade responded with a quick 7-0 run to stretch the lead back to 32-24, before Mariah Martin made a free throw and Morgan Myers scored a put-back basket just before the break to cut the lead to 32-27 at halftime.

Dixie State went cold in the third quarter, managing just eight points during the frame, and the Silverswords pushed the lead to 43-35 heading to the final period.

Chaminade pushed the lead to double digits at 48-37 early in the fourth quarter, but DSU responded with a 9-0 run to pull to within 48-46 at the 7:23 mark. Keslee Stevenson buried two triples during the stretch, while Martin sparked the run with a 3-pointer of her own. But the Trailblazers wouldn’t get any closer. The Silverswords countered with an 18-2 run as Dixie State went the next six minutes without a field goal. DSU added an Ashlee Burge layup and a pair of free throws to trim the lead to the eventually final tally of 66-52.

Dixie State shot 35 percent (20-of-56) from the field, 20 percent (5-of-24) from 3-point range, and 70 percent (7-of-10) from the free throw line. Ventling was the only DSU players in double figures with 10 points, while Burge, Martin, and Stevenson each added eight points.

The Trailblazers close their two-game Hawaii trip on Saturday at Hawai’i Pacific in Honolulu. Game time is set for 1 p.m. Hawaii Time (4 p.m. MT).

Stats: CU 66, DSU 52

Softball
Dixie State 13, NW Nazarene 5
Dixie State 7, NW Nazarene 0

The No. 9 Dixie State softball team opened its 2018 season with a doubleheader sweep of Northwest Nazarene on Thursday at Karl Brooks Field, taking game one by a 13-5 count before wrapping up the day with a 7-0 victory in game two.

The Trailblazers (2-0) shined in all facets in the doubleheader sweep, combining for 20 runs on 16 hits, including three home runs, while limiting the Nighthawks to a combined five runs on seven hits.

Photo courtesy DSU Athletics

GAME ONE – Northwest Nazarene opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with a sacrifice fly to right field to build a 1-0 lead. The Nighthawks would move runners to second and third on the scoring play and looked to add to the lead. But, DSU pitcher Alexandria Melendez struck out the next NNU batter to end the inning.

Dixie State wasted no time regaining the lead in the bottom half of the first. After Janessa Bassett and Dani Bartholf each drew a walk, Riley Tyteca blasted the payoff pitch of a seven-pitch at-bat over the center field fence for a three-run home run to give the Trailblazers a 3-1 lead.

NNU pulled a run back in the top of the second when a wild pitch and an errant throw from home plate allowed Nighthawks center fielder Lauren Bassett to score from third base to cut the lead to 3-2.

Northwest Nazarene took its second lead of the game in the third inning when an RBI-single down the right field line and a sacrifice fly to left field gave the Nighthawks a 4-3 advantage.

Dixie State wrestled the lead back in the bottom of the fourth, scoring two runs on three hits to build a 5-4 lead. Jessica Gonzalez belted a leadoff solo home run to left field for the first DSU run of the inning, while Kaitlyn Delange scored Kenzie Sawyer from third with a sacrifice fly later in the frame. The Trailblazers extended the lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth when Tyteca scored on a Gonzalez sacrifice fly to right field.

The Nighthawks trimmed the lead to 6-5 in the top of the sixth with a leadoff solo home run to left field. DSU pitcher Kaycie Jensen entered the game following the blast, and dashed all NNU hopes of tying or taking the lead. Jensen retired the next three batters, including a four-pitch strikeout, to get out of the inning.

The Trailblazers ended the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring seven runs on one hit and one NNU error to clinch the 13-5 triumph.

Gonzalez led the way the plate, recording two hits and a hit-by-pitch in three at bats with a home run and 3 RBI. Gaffin added two hits and 2 RBI, while Tyteca racked up 3 RBI with her first-inning home run. Melendez (1-0) earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, allowing four hits with three strikeouts in five innings of work. Jensen earned her first career save after retiring three batters with a strikeout in the sixth inning.

GAME TWO – Dixie State opened the scoring in the first frame of game two when Kori Gahn doubled to right field to score Brenna Hinck from second to give the home team a 1-0 advantage. The Trailblazers added two more runs in the second inning when, after a Gonzalez leadoff single, Sawyer crushed a two-run home run to right center field to push the lead to 3-0.

DSU scored three runs on two hits and two NNU errors in the fourth inning to push the lead to 6-0 before putting the finishing touches on the scoring with a run in the bottom of the fifth to push the score to the final tally of 7-0.

Meanwhile, the Trailblazers went to work defensively as Cambrie Hazel (1-0) earned her first career win in her first collegiate start. Hazel allowed just three hits to go with three strikeouts in six innings of work. Additionally, Hazel and the DSU defense retired the NNU side in order during the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Alexis Barkwell entered the game in the top of the seventh and retired the only three batters she faced to close out the win.

Gahn led the way at the plate in game two, recording 3 RBI on two hits, while Sawyer added a two-run home run and drew a walk in three appearances at the plate.

Dixie State now prepares to host the 2018 Easton Classic and will play six games in four days next Thursday through Sunday.

Stats: Game 1Game 2

PacWest Conference Men’s Basketball Standings (conference, overall)
Dixie State  12-2, 15-6
Azusa Pacific  11-3, 15-7
Cal Baptist  9-3, 16-4
Point Loma  10-4, 16-7
Chaminade  8-5, 13-7
Academy of Art  8-6, 9-11
Hawaii Pacific  6-6, 11-9
Concordia  6-7, 12-9
Holy Names  5-8, 9-15
Hawaii Hilo  4-7, 5-13
Notre Dame de Namur  4-9, 5-13
Dominican  4-9, 5-15
Fresno Pacific  3-12, 5-18
Biola  2-11, 8-13

PacWest Conference Women’s Basketball Standings (conference, overall)
Hawaii Pacific  11-1, 17-2
Azusa Pacific  12-2, 21-3
Dominican  8-5, 14-7
Concordia  7-6, 10-9
Notre Dame de Namur  6-7, 9-12
Fresno Pacific  8-7, 10-13
Point Loma  7-7, 12-9
Dixie State  6-8, 10-11
Cal Baptist  6-6, 9-11
Biola  7-6, 10-9
Hawaii Hilo  4-7, 6-8
Academy of Art  5-9, 6-16
Holy Names  3-10, 4-17
Chaminade  2-11, 2-13

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